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Italy Nov unemplyment rate falls to 8.9%, as 63,000 jobs created - ISTAT

·2-min read

ROME, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Italy's unemployment rate fell to 8.9% in November from a downwardly revised 9.5% the month before, as some 63,000 jobs were created, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported on Friday.

The jobless rate for October was originally reported at 9.8%.

"The growth in employment observed between July and September, which had come to a standstill in October, resumed in November, due to the increase in permanent employees and the self-employed," ISTAT said.

In the September-to-November period employment levels were up by 127,000 compared with the three months from June to August. However, ISTAT said that since February, when the coronavirus first started to batter Italy, the number of unemployed had risen by more than 170,000.

"Compared to February, the employment rate is 0.6 percentage points lower and the unemployment rate is again 0.5 points lower," ISTAT said.

Italy was the first Western country to be hit by the virus in February, with the outbreak only coming under control thanks to a months-long national lockdown. After a summer lull, infections soared again in October, forcing new government curbs which once more hit businesses.

The official jobless rate plummeted in the original shutdown as people stopped looking for work, but rose rapidly once the restrictions were lifted as Italians returned to the labour market. Only people actively looking for a job count towards the unemployment rate.

In November, the youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, fell to 29.5% from a downwardly revised 29.9% the month before. The October figure was previously given as 30.3%.

Italy's overall employment rate, one of the lowest in the euro zone, rose in November to 58.3% from 58.1%.

Highlighting the devastating impact of the coronavirus on the economy, Italy's gross domestic product is forecast by the government to have contracted 9% last year.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer)