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Press release

Labour market

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The labour input, as measured by hours worked, declines by -0.2% compared to the previous quarter and by -0.1% compared to the first quarter of 2020; GDP grows by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter and declines by -0.8% year-on-year.

On the job supply side, the number of employed declines by 243 thousand units (-1.1%) compared to the previous quarter, due to the decrease in the number of permanent employees (-1.1%) and self-employed (-2.0%). At the same time increases both the number of unemployed (+103 thousand) and the number of inactive aged 15-64 (+98 thousand). In monthly seasonally adjusted provisional data referred to April 2021, the number of employed continues to grow (+20 thousands, +0.1 by the previous month) after the growth in March and February and the slump recorded in January. The increase in the number of employed is linked to the increase in the number of unemployed (+88 thousand, 3.4%) and the dip in the number of inactive aged 15-64 (-138 thousand, -1.0%).

In a year-over-year perspective the slump in employment (-889 thousand, 3.9% compared to the first quarter of 2020) involves employees (-576 thousands, -3.2%), especially temporary ones, and self-employed (-313 thousands, -6.0%). The decline involves both full time and part time employed (respectively -3.8% and -4.2%).

The number of unemployed increases again (-240 thousand, 10.0% compared to the first quarter of 2020), only among those with previous working experiences; the increase in the number of inactive people between 15 and 64 years old continues but at a slower pace than in previous three quartes (+501 thousand, +3.7% in a year).

The employment rate, which is 56.6%, declines both in conjunctural and year-on-year terms (respectively -0.6 and -2.2 percentage points); the unemployed and inactive rates rise. Monthly seasonally adjusted provisional data referred to April 2021 shows an icrease in the employment rate (0.1 percentage points) and in the unemployment rate (+0.3 points) and a decrease in the inactivity rate (-0.3 points).

On the enterprise side, the labour demand recorded a slight growth quarter-over-quarter, due to the new measures aimed at containing health emergency: total employee jobs increase by 0.2%, as a result of a reduction of part-time (-1.7%) and an increase of full-time (+1%). On an annual basis, total employee jobs continued to record a decline by 0.8%, even if with a lower speed than the previus quarter, with the part-time component which fell by 3.7% and the full-time that increased by 0.4%. The hours worked per employee showed an increase on a quarterly basis (1.0%) and a less evident one on an annual basis (0.4%). The use of short-time working allowances grew up to 108,4 hours per 1,000 hours worked. The job vacancy rate sliglthly rose compared to the previous quarter (by 0.1 percentage points) and to a greater extent respect to the first quarter 2020 (by 0.8 percentage points). Labour cost increased by 0.9% on a quarterly basis, as a result of a growth both in wages and salaries equal to 0.5%, and social security contributions equal to 2%. On an annual basis, labour cost increased by 0.8%, following a growth in wages and salaries (+1.6%) and a decrease in social security contributions (-1.2%). The decline of social security contributions recorded also in this quarter, was a result of the adoption, in the second half of year 2020, of social contributions’ relief, aimed at relaunching economic activity.

From this quarterly press release the Labour force survey disseminates the new quarterly time series as requested by the Regulation (EU) 2019/1700. Adjusted time series have been back-recalculated for the period 2004 –2020, while not adjusted series for the period 2018-2020. Thus time comparisons can only be made within these reconstructed series; data disseminated today should not be compared to previous releases. All series have been back recalculated on a provisional base; final series will be disseminated by the end of the 2021.

Direct statistical surveys and data collection from administrative sources for statistical purposes have been affected by the current health emergency. Corrective actions have been carried out in order to counteract its statistical effects and to ensure processing and dissemination of data for the first quarter of 2021. It should be noted, however, that the estimates presented in this press release are provisional – also in the consistency of some indicators from different sources – and may therefore be revised on the basis of further analysis and more extensive and complete information when available.

Reference period: First quarter 2021

Date of Issue: 11 June 2021

Next release: 13 September 2021



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