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Press release

Non observed economy in national accounts

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In 2017 NOE generated value added for about EUR 211 billion (compared to 207.7 bln. in 2016), with an increase of 1.5% to the previous year, a slower growth than total value added (+2.3%). Hence, the weight of NOE on GDP was slightly reduced from 12.2% in 2016 to 12.01% in 2017, confirming the downward trend that has been ongoing since the peak reached in 2014 (13%).

Total underground economy in 2017 accounted for about EUR 192 billion, 12.3% of the total value added: under-reporting accounted for EUR 97 billion, the use of undeclared work for 79 billion and the residual components for 16 billion.

The composition of NOE proves to be quite stable over time. Under-reporting of value added proves to be the most relevant component: in 2017 it accounted for 46.1% over the total NOE, it increased by 0.3 percentage points to 2016.

In 2017 undeclared Full time equivalent units (FTEUs) were 3.7 million, mainly employees (about 2.7 million). They grew by 0.7% compared to 2016, when, on the contrary, they had decreased by 0.7%.

The weight of undeclared work was quite high in service activities (16.8%) and in  particular in Other personal services (47.7%). In Construction undeclared work accounted for 17% of the total, and in Trade, Transportation, Accommodation and food service activities for 15.8%.

In 2017 the value added generated through the illegal activities included in NA accounts for EUR 18.9 billion, an increase of 0.8% to the previous year. The households final consumption expenditure (HFCE) of illegal goods and services amounted to EUR 20.3 billion, an increase of 0.9% to 2016.


For information

Alessandra Agostinelli
Ph. +39 06 4673.3130

Augusto Puggioni
Ph. +39 06 4673.3142


Reference period: Years 2014-2017

Date of Issue: 25 October 2019



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