More than half a million jobs have been lost in Italy since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, National Statistics Office Istat indicated on Thursday.
“In May, the number of people in employment fell to 22.8 million, the lowest figure in almost four years and down by 538,000 compared to February,’’ national statistics office Istat said.
The novel coronavirus pandemic struck Italy in the second half of February.
To date, the country has reported almost 241,000 infections and almost 35,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Istat also said the May unemployment rate stood at 7.8 per cent, up from 6.6 per cent in April.
The figure is relatively low, partly because of a major drop in the number of people actively looking for a job, the so-called “inactives” who are excluded from job-seekers’ statistics.
“The ranks of the inactive have swelled by almost 900,000 between February and May, to 14.289 million,’’ Istat said.
Unemployment figures are also less dramatic than what could be expected because people temporarily out of work, but covered by state-funded furlough schemes, are also not counted in.