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Press release

Labour market

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The labour input, as measured by hours worked, increases by 0.2% compared to the previous quarter and by -6.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020; GDP grows by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter and by 6.2% year-on-year.

On the job supply side, in the fourth quarter of 2021, the number of employed increases by 80 thousand units (+0.4%) compared to the previous quarter, due to the rise in the number of temporary employees (80 thousand, +2.7% in three months), and less intensely, of number of self-employed (+11 thousand, +0.2%), opposed to the decline in permanent employees (-11 thousand, -0.1%).

The slight increase in the number of unemployed is associated with a reduction in inactive people aged 15-64 years (-233 thousand, -1.8%). The monthly seasonally adjusted provisional data referred to January 2022 point to a stability in the number of employed people, a reduction in unemployment (-51 thousand, -2.3% compared to December 2021) and an increase in inactivity (+74 thousand, +0.6%). The same evidence characterizes the trend in rates: the employment rate among people aged 15-64 years goes up to 59.1%, increasing compared to the previous quarter (+0.5 percentage points) which is associated with the stability in the unemployment rate and with the fall in the inactive rate 15-64 years. Monthly seasonally adjusted provisional data referred to January 2022 point to a stability in employment rate compared to December 2021, a reduction of the unemployed rate (-0.2 percentage points in a month) and the increase of the inactive rate (+0,2 percentage points).

In a year-over-year perspective the surge in employment (+571 thousand, 2.6% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020) involves permanent employees (+188 thousand, +1.3%) and mainly temporary employees (+384 thousands, +14.3%); after nine quarters of uninterrupted decline, the number of self-employed remains stable. The increase in the employment involves both full time and part time employed (respectively +2.1% and +4.7%). The number of unemployed declines (-130 thousand in one year, -5.4%), accompanied by a reduction in the number of inactive people aged 15-64 years (-728 thousand, -5.4% in one year). The year-over-year growth in the employment rate (+1.9 percentage points by the fourth quarter of 2020) is associated with the decrease in unemployment and inactivity rates (-0.7 and -1.6 percentage points respectively).

On the enterprise side, labor demand shows on a quarterly basis an increase in total employee jobs equal to 0.5%, with a slighter growth compared to the previous quarter, reflected in both components: full-time jobs rise by 0.7% and part-time jobs by 0.2%. On an annual basis, total employee jobs continue to show a more marked growth equal to 4.9%, +5.5% full-time and +3.3% part-time.The hours worked per employee show an increase on a quarterly basis (1.7%) and a more evident one on an annual basis (5.1%). The use of short-time working allowances fell to 28.5 hours per 1,000 hours worked. The job vacancy rate rises compared to the previous quarter (by 0.1 percentage points) and to a greater extent respect to the fourth quarter 2020 (by 0.9 percentage points).
Total labour cost decreases on a quarterly basis by 0.4%, as a result of a reduction of both components, wages equal to -0.3% and social security contributions equal to -0.9%. On an annual basis, labour cost rises by 0.5%, with a slight growth in the wages component, equal to 0.2% and a greater increase in social security contributions, equal to 1.4%.

The 2021 average is the synthesis of the quarterly dynamics of the labour market during the year: the strong year-over-year decrease of employment in the first quarter 2021 was followed by the consistent growth in the second quarter that becomes more marked in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. On the average of one year the number of employed increases by 169 thousand units (+0.8%) associated with a rise in unemployment and the strong fall in the number of inactive aged 15-64 years. This evidence is also confirmed by the dynamics of labour input variables: the growth of jobs (+3.2%) and of total hours worked (12%), as well as the decrease in the use of short-time working allowance hours (-85.3 each 1,000 hours worked).

The Labour Force Survey data released in this press release finalize the estimates and reconstruction of the time series of the main indicators (provisionally provided from the first quarter of 2021)

Reference period: Fourth quarter 2021

Date of Issue: 11 March 2022

Next release: 13 June 2022



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