The jobless rate rose a further 0.2 percentage points last quarter to 13.0 percent.
However, the increase from an unrevised third quarter reading was only half that period's advance and, moreover, masked a clearly improving trend since November. Hence the monthly data released alongside the quarterly figures showed the rate peaking in mid-quarter at 13.2 percent before falling to 12.7 percent at year-end and then to 12.6 percent in January.
That said, the number of people out of work remains politically unacceptable and economically a major threat to household consumption prospects.
The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force. In addition to the quarterly data, a less detailed monthly report is also available.
Unemployment data are published on a quarterly basis and are very old by the time they are released (they are published about 11 weeks after the end of the reference quarter). The data are published both by the number of persons out of work and by the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is obtained from the ratio between persons seeking employment and the total labor force as measured by the labor force survey (LFS). Italy uses the International Labour Organisation criteria as adopted by Eurostat to compile the data.
Despite the delay in publication of these data, investors can sense the degree of tightness in the job market. If labor markets are tight, investors will be alert to possible inflationary pressures that could exist. If wage inflation threatens, it's a good bet that interest rates will rise; bond and stock prices will fall.
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