home  › Business and economy

Youth unemployment in Italy double the European average

by Mauro Pizzin

Vibo Valentia is the Italian province with the lowest employment rates in the nation: only 35.8% of 15-64 year olds are employed, compared to 71.4% in Bolzano (the province with the highest rates).

Elsewhere in the South, with 32.2%, Crotone has the highest unemployment rates overall; Cosenza has the unenviable record of the highest unemployment rate among young women (84.4%) in all of Italy.

Italy has the second-highest difference between male and female employment rates (18.3%) in all of Europe—only Malta has a greater difference (25.2%).

These are just a few of the facts for 2015, presented by the Statistical Observatory of Labor Consultants in early January, in their “First Report on Job Market Dynamics in Large Italian Cities and Provinces.”

The investigation reveals that Italian workers' education levels are very low, in comparison to the rest of Europe: almost a third only have a junior high school diploma (31.8%, versus the EU average of 17.8%). Education levels are dramatically low in the South, especially in the province of Nuoro, where 55.1% of employees have not completed compulsory schooling.

Only 21% of workers hold a degree, compared to the European average of 33.4%; this figure emphasizes the need to enact policies to halt brain drain among young Italian graduates.

The province of Rome has the highest percentage of college graduates, partly due to the amount of government employees, followed by Milan (28.7%). The lowest percentages can be found in the provinces of Sondrio (11.6%) and Medio Campidano (12.5%).

The greatest cause of alarm in terms of unemployment (and it couldn't have been anything else) is the subject of youth unemployment: at 40.3%, Italy's rate is more than double the European average (20.3%), with dramatic spikes in the province of Medio Campidano (74.7%). More flattering figures can be found in Bolzano (11.9%), where degree apprenticeships are more common and widespread—the so-called “dual system.”

The Observatory has also studied immigrant workers in Italy's 13 largest cities, emphasizing that foreign employment rates (66.6%) are, on average, 9 percentage points higher than Italian employment rates. This discrepancy is the lowest in Milan (69.4% among Italians, 72.9% among immigrants), but widens significantly in Naples (58.3%, versus 34.8%).