World Economy

40% Italian Youth Remain Jobless

40% Italian Youth Remain Jobless40% Italian Youth Remain Jobless

Italy's budding economic recovery is leaving at least one key group behind: young workers.

In recent months, the Bank of Italy and multilateral organizations including the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have adjusted their estimates for the growth of the Italian economy upward, Xinhua reported.

Not only is the country's export sector growth outpacing Italy's economic growth but also growing faster than worldwide trade, meaning Italian exporters have slowly been gaining a bigger share of all experts.

Confidence in Italy's economy is improving, whether gauged by consumer confidence levels started to edge higher starting in early summer, or based on yields for government bonds, which are falling as investors conclude that Italy is less risky than it had been.

But even with all this going on, the percentage of workers under the age of 35 without a job has stubbornly remained around 40%, and the number of such workers leaving Italy for more vibrant job markets abroad has been on the rise, according to Italian statistics office ISTAT.

For the youngest of workers—those under the age of 24—around one in five is neither employed, looking for a job, or engaged in studies. That is nearly double the average for the European Union as a whole.

"This is one of the most serious long-term problems Italy's economy faces," Michel Martone, a former vice minister for labor and a labor law professor at Rome's LUISS University, told Xinhua.

The trend is not a new one. Martone's research in the magazine LUISS Open showed that youth unemployment grew from less than 25% to more than 40% between 2008 and 2016.

The most serious aspect of the problem, according to Martone, is the flight of young people educated in Italy and who end up working in other countries. Figures from Fondazione Migrantes, an Italian research group focusing on migration issues, nearly 50,000 Italians between the ages of 18 and 34 left the country in 2016, almost a quarter more than that during the previous year.

"That means that Italy pays to educate these people, but then every year tens of thousands of them are forced to leave the country because they cannot find work," Martone said. "And keep in mind that the unemployment numbers remain high even though the workers who leave are no longer included in these calculations."

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