“In the first quarter of 2023, employed people grew by over half a million and it is the eighth consecutive quarter that a trend increase in employment has been observed”. This is what Istat reports in the note on the labor market in the first quarter where it indicates an increase of 513 thousand employed compared to the first quarter of 2022 (+ 2.3%) and growth compared to the previous quarter of 104 thousand units (+0, 4%). Labor input, measured by hours worked, increased by 1.3% from the previous quarter and by 3.3% from the first quarter of 2022.
Istat explains that “the recovery phase of employment, after the sharp drop generated by the effects of the pandemic, in fact began in the second quarter of 2021 (with growth of 2.2%), continued at a sustained pace between third quarter of 2021 and second quarter of 2022 (reaching 4.1% in first 2022), it slowed down in the third and fourth quarter of 2022 (not exceeding 1.5%), returning to 2.3% in the first quarter of 2023 ». More specifically, the increase in employment in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter involves permanent employees (+92 thousand, +0.6%) and self-employed (+27 thousand, +0.5%), while fixed-term employees decreased slightly (-15 thousand, -0.5% in three months). Even in trend terms, the increase in employment concerns permanent employees (+3.7%) and self-employed (+1%), while the number of temporary employees decreases (-2.7%); compared to the first quarter of 2022, the decline in the unemployed continued (-76 thousand in one year, -3.5%) and inactive people between the ages of 15 and 64 (-558 thousand, -4.3%).
The unemployment rate climbed back to 8% in the first quarter of 2023 with an increase of 0.1 points from the previous quarter and a decrease of 0.5 points from the previous year. The cyclical increase in unemployment is accompanied by an increase in the employment rate which rises to 60.9% (+0.3 points on the quarter, +1.5% on the year) and a drop in the inactivity rate 15-64 year which drops to 33.7% (-0.4 points over the quarter, -1.4 over the year). There are 2,013,000 unemployed, 23,000 more than the previous three months (-76,000 over the year), while the inactive aged 15-64 are 150,000 less, down to 12,535,000.
«On the business side, the cyclical growth of employee positions intensifies which, overall, increase by 1.1%, due to both a marked growth in the full-time component (+1%) and an upward push of the part-time component (+1.4%)», reads the Istat press release. In trend terms, the growth in employee positions is equal to 3.1% and the increase was more intense for the full-time component (+3.6%) than for the part-time component (+1.7%) . Hours worked per employee also increased, in economic terms (+1.9%) and, above all, in trend terms (+4.6%); recourse to layoffs falls to 8.7 hours for every thousand hours worked.
Istat also reports a “significant” increase in the cost of labor per employee work unit (ULA) in the first quarter which “reaches values among the highest in historical series”. Compared to the previous quarter, growth is 1.8% with an increase both in wages (+1.2%) and, to a greater extent, in social security contributions (+3%). Over the year, the growth is even more intense (+3.9%), with +3.4% for the remuneration component and +5.4% for social security contributions. The one-off amounts contribute to the increase in wages, while the increase in social security contributions is linked to the reduction of the tax relief interventions for 2021-2022.