WASHINGTON – The Italian government just released figures related to new jobs created most likely on account of new legislation that simplified certain labor market rules. The data indicate that some 90,000 new jobs were added.
A new trend?
Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella said that this net jobs creation is an encouraging sign, possibly indicating a new trend in the perennially depressed Italian economy.
Well, this optimism is not unanimous. Susanna Camusso, head of the powerful CGIL trade union, stated that these are meaningless numbers coming from a propaganda office. An opposition leader argued that the government picked the figures from some astrologer, or that may be these are lottery numbers.
A more serious critique points out that the numbers were released without any explanation as to how they have been calculated, and what methodology has ben used.
However, even assuming that the numbers are genuine, and that there has been a modest increase in the number of Italian who now have some kind of job, the big statistics (that no one disputes) are truly frightening.
Italy’s total unemployment is 12.7%. Yes, this is more than double the US rate deemed to be tool high by most American economists. Youth unemployment is 42%. If you look at young people without a job in the south of Italy, the percentage climbs to 60%.
Besides, Italy’s GDP has to yet to get out of the hole it fell into after the 2008 global recession.
These are the facts. In this disastrous context expressing any optimism about small changes based on data apparently not properly vetted is sheer lunacy.