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Italy April jobless rate falls to 6.9%, lowest since 2008

Mass tourism in Italy

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's unemployment rate declined to 6.9% in April from a downwardly revised 7.1% the month before, data showed on Thursday, as some 84,000 jobs were created in the month.

The April rate was the lowest since December 2008, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported.

A Reuters survey of 11 analysts had forecast a level of 7.2%, which was the previously reported figure for March.

In the February-to-April period, employment was up by 136,000, or 0.6%, compared with the previous three months, ISTAT said.

In April, the number of people in work was up by 516,000, or 2.2% compared with April 2023.

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The youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, was stable in April at 20.2%.

Italy's overall employment rate, one of the lowest in the euro zone, climbed to 62.3% in April from March's 62.1%, reaching its highest level since ISTAT's current series began in 2004.

Italian gross domestic product increased by 0.3% in the first quarter from the previous three months, preliminary ISTAT data showed last month, following marginal 0.1% growth in Q4 2023.

Most analysts expect similar modest growth rates through the rest of this year, yielding full-year 2024 growth of between 0.7% and 1%.

(reporting by Gavin Jones and Valentina Consiglio, graphic by Stefano Bernabei)