MILANO – An “unprecedented” decline in employment was recorded in the labor market in 2020 by Istat. In practice, 456,000 jobs have been lost, in particular among the most fragile: for the most part they are fixed-term contracts.
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This is a trend, explains Istat, which follows the uninterrupted growth of the previous six years – albeit slowed since 2017.
The employment rate, which reached an all-time high in 2018 and 2019, drops to 58.1% (-1.0 percentage points compared to 2019) and returns to 2017 levels. unemployment rate which reaches 9.2% (-0.8 points in one year).
But this figure is obviously ‘tainted’ by the fact that after six years of decline, in 2020, the number of inactive increases by 567 thousand (+ 4.3% in one year). The growth affects both the potential workforce (+217 thousand, + 7.4%) and those who are not looking for and are not available to work (+350 thousand, + 3.4%). With an inactivity rate rising to 35.9% (+1.6 points), it means that there are fewer people actively seeking employment and who may therefore be unemployed.
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Among the reasons for not looking for a job, after five years of decline, discouragement returns (+ 2.1%) and reasons for studying, retirement but above all other reasons (+ 35.6%) increase, which in most cases they are linked to the pandemic. When dealing with the details of the fourth quarter, Istat exemplifies the responses that link the lack of job search to the health emergency: “everything stopped”, “no one assumes due to covid”, “fear of contagion”, “wait for the pandemic”.
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Returning to the decline in employment, this mainly involves the fixed-term employees (-391 thousand, -12.8%) and, to a lesser extent, the self-employed (-154 thousand, -2.9%); permanent employment on the other hand shows growth (+89 thousand, + 0.6%). The decrease affects full-time work (-251 thousand, -1.3%) and, above all, part time (-205 thousand, -4.6%); the share of involuntary part-time also rises to 64.6% (+0.4 points) of part-time employment (the share calculated on the total number of employees drops to 11.9%, -0.3 points, due to the sharp decline in part-time workers).
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Always in the year average, it is women who suffer the most: among them the decrease in employment was greater with -249 thousand employed (-2.5% compared to -1.5% among men) and -1.1 points in the employment rate (-0.8 points among men). Unemployment among women fell more, -140 thousand unemployed (-11.4% against -9.7% of men) and -0.9 points in the rate (-0.7 points for the male component), but also in this case it seems to be an optical effect given that the inactivity rate has increased more (+1.8 points compared to +1.4 points among males).
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