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Press release

Labour market

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The labour input, as measured by hours worked, increases by 3.9% compared to the previous quarter and by -20.8% compared to the second quarter of 2020; GDP grows by 2.7% quarter-on-quarter and by 17.3% year-on-year.

On the job supply side, the number of employed increases by 338 thousand units (+1.5%) compared to the previous quarter, due to the rise in the number of permanent employees (80 thousand, +0.5%), self-employed (33 thousand, +0.7%) and specially to the surge of temporary employees (226 thousands, +8.3% in three months). At the same time declines both the number of unemployed (-55 thousand, -2.2%) and the number of inactive aged 15-64 years (-337 98 thousand, -2.4%). In monthly seasonally adjusted provisional data referred to July 2021, the number of employed slightly declines (-23 thousands, -0.1% by the previous month) after five months of consecutive growth. The fall in the number of employed is linked to the dip in unemployed (-29 thousand, -1.2%) and the growth in the inactive aged 15-64 (+28 thousand, +0.2%).

In a year-over-year perspective the surge in employment (+523 thousand, 2.3% compared to the second quarter of 2020) involves exclusively temporary employees (+573 thousands, +23.6%), while although at a slower pace, both permanent employees and self-employed continue to decline (respectively -29 and -21 thousand, -0.2% and -0.4%). The increase in the employment involves both full time and part time employed (respectively +1.8% and +4.8%). The number of unemployed (+514 thousand in one year) continues to rise, accompanied by a strong reduction in the number of inactive people aged 15-64 years (-1 million 253 thousand, -8.5% in one year), after five consecutive quarters of growth.

The employment rate among people aged 15-64 years goes up to 58.0%, increasing compared both to the previous quarter and to the same quarter of the previous year (respectively +1.0 and +1.7 percentage points); the unemployed rate declines compared to the previous quarter but increases in the year-over-year basis; the inactive rate declines both on the quarterly and the annual basis. Monthly seasonally adjusted provisional data referred to July 2021 shows stability in the employment rate and a slight change in the unemployment rate (-0.1 points) and in the inactivity one (+0.1 points).

On the enterprise side, the labour demand continues to show signs of growth on a quarterly basis: total employee jobs rose by 0.7%, as a result of an increase of both components, full time equal to 0.6% and part time equal to 0.9. On an annual basis, total employee jobs recorded a significant growth (in total equal to +3.6%, +3.5% full time and +3.9% part-time) as a ripple effect of the most critical period of the sanitary emergency, the second quarter of 2020, when particularly severe measures of restriction to limit the Covid pandemy were adopted.The hours worked per employee showed an increase on a quarterly basis (3.4%) and a much more evident one on an annual basis (29,2%). The use of short-time working allowances fell to 78,7 hours per 1,000 hours worked. The job vacancy rate rose compared to the previous quarter (by 0.6 percentage points) and to a greater extent respect to the second quarter 2020 (by 1.0 percentage point). Labour cost increased by 0.6% on a quarterly basis, as a result of a more significant increase of wages and salaries (+0.7%) and a less intense growth of social security contributions (+0.3%), due to the persistence of employment support measures implemented through social contributions’ relief. Differently, on an annual basis, labor costs recorded a downturn evolution with a decline of 3.1%, as a synthesis of both a decrease of wages and salaries (-2.3%) and of social security contributions (-5.4%). In detail, the decline of the wages reflected the exeptional growth recorded in the same quarter of the previous year, when the measures of suspension of the economic activities implied a sort of “quality effects” consisting in the permanence, in the business’s labour force, of the “higher paid profile” employees. The more intense reduction in social security contributions reflected also the persistence of the decontribution initiatives.

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: Second quarter 2021

Date of Issue: 13 September 2021

Next release: 13 December 2021



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