The jobless rate was confirmed at 11.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. This was up from 11.6 percent in both the previous period and the same quarter a year ago.
The monthly jobless figures already released showed no change in January and underscore the ongoing sluggishness Italy's economic recovery. A 0.2 percent quarterly rise in real GDP last quarter was a tick short of its third quarter pace and simply not fast enough to make any real impression on the jobs market.
A persistent double digit unemployment rate (Italy has the fourth highest in the Eurozone), combined with heightened political uncertainty, makes for a very clouded backdrop to the consumer sector. Household spending seems unlikely to accelerate significantly any time soon.
The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labour 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.