In the second quarter of 2019 there was an increase in employment compared to the previous quarter (+0.6%), in a context of falling unemployment and inactivity. With reference to labor input, in the same period, a slight decrease in hours worked was observed on a monthly basis (-0.1%) and a slowdown in growth in trend terms (+0.4%). These labor market dynamics are part of a phase of substantial stagnation of economic activity confirmed, in the last quarter, by a zero economic change in GDP.
On the labor supply side, in the second quarter of 2019 the number of people in employment increased in economic terms (+130 thousand, +0.6%), following the increase in employees, both permanent and fixed-term, and in the self-employed, although to a minor extent. The employment rate rose to 59.1% (+0.3 points). In most recent monthly data (July 2019), net of seasonal effects, the employment rate and the number of employees showed a slight decrease compared to the previous month.
In trend terms, the growth in the number of employed persons continued at a slower pace (+0.3%, +78 thousand in one year), due to the permanent employment component despite a decline in self-employment and fixed-term employees; the incidence of fixed-term employees on total employees declined to 17.2% (-0.2 points in a year). After the slowdown over the last period, full-time employees stopped growing, while part-time workers continued to grow; the incidence of involuntary part-time was estimated at 64.8% of part-time workers (+1.2 points). Employment growth, especially in the North and, less marked, in the Centre (+0.7% and +0.1%, respectively) was offset, for the third consecutive quarter, by the decline in the South and Islands (-0.3%).
In the trend comparison, for the ninth consecutive quarter, the reduction in the number of unemployed (-260 thousand in one year, -9.3%) concerns both genders, the different territorial areas and all age groups. After two quarters of decline, the number of inactive 15-64 year olds increased again (+63 thousand in one year, +0.5%).
The unemployment rate was on the decrease both compared to the previous quarter and over the previous year; this trend is associated with economic stability and the tendential growth of the inactivity rate among people aged 15-64. In contrast, in monthly data for July 2019 the unemployment rate was slightly increasing, and the inactivity one remained unchanged compared to June 2019.