In the third quarter of 2017 the Italian economy recorded a quarter-on-quarter 0.4% and a year-on-year 1.7% increase of Gdp. Overall, in the Euro area the economy grew by 0.6% over the previous quarter and by 2.5% over the same quarter of 2016. Acceleration in the economic activity growth, particularly in the industry and construction sectors, was associated with a labour absorption by the production system that continued to expand: total hours worked grew by 0.7% to the previous quarter and by 2.4% on an annual basis, showing a higher growth than that of the product.
On the labour supply side, in the third quarter of 2017 employment showed a new growth on a quarter-on-quarter basis (+79 thousand, 0.3%), due to a further increase of fixed term employees (+101 thousand, +0.6%), while permanent employees remained stable. The self-employed continued to decrease (-22 thousand, -0.4%). The employment rate grew to 58.1%, +0.2 points over the previous quarter. The most recent data, the seasonally adjusted ones for October 2017, showed a substantial stability in the number of employed persons compared to September.
The dynamics between the third quarter 2017 and the same period of the previous year led to an increase of 303 thousand employed persons (+1.3%) involving employees only (+2.3%), mostly with a fixed-term contract, while the self-employed continued to decrease (-1.8%). The increase in absolute terms was more significant for full-time employees. Part-time employment increased mostly in the voluntary component. Employment growth involved both genders and all geographical areas, and was more evident among women and in the South and Islands. In the third quarter of 2017 the number of young people aged 15-34 in employment and the corresponding employment rate started growing again, both on a quarterly and on a yearly basis.
Unemployment rate remained unchanged from the previous quarter and decreased by 0.4 percentage points year-over-year. In October 2017, the unemployment and inactivity rates (15-64 years) remained stable on a monthly basis.
The decrease in the number of the inactive aged 15-64 (-300 thousand in a year) and the corresponding inactivity rate (-0.6 points) strengthened on a yearly basis. Inactivity reduction was spread over territory and gender, and especially involved people over 50, and persons willing to work (potential labour forces).
Changes in stock suggested significant changes in people’s conditions in the labour market, as measured by flow data over a twelve-month period. Overall, transitions from unemployment to employment increased especially among young people, highly-educated individuals and residents of the North area. Also transitions from inactivity to unemployment grew, especially for potential labour forces; the discouraged component, however, registered an increase also in transitions to employment.
As for enterprises, the signs of growth in labour demand were confirmed, with a 1% increase in employee jobs over the previous quarter, as a result of a rise in both industry and services. Hours worked per employee increased both on the previous quarter (+0.4%) and year-over-year (+0.1%), while short-time working allowance hours continued to decrease. Signs of growth from the vacancy rate continued with an increase by 0.1 percentage points on the previous quarter. On a quarterly basis, wages and salaries increased by 0.3%, social contributions by 0.7%, and together they produced a 0.4% increase of labour costs.