Italian Unemployment Hits Record 11.1%

Italy's unemployment rate rose to a new record of 11.1 percent in October, initial data published by the national statistics office ISTAT showed on Friday, as recession grips the economy.

The rate was 0.3 percentage points higher than in September, ISTAT said, and the highest level recorded since it began publishing monthly data in January 2004, as well as being 2.3 percentage points higher than in October 2011.

The figure was worse than expected, with analysts from Intesa Sanpaolo bank saying they had been expecting the unemployment rate to rise to 10.9 percent.

"The outlook for the labour market remains negative. The unemployment rate could continue to rise until spring 2013," they said in a research note.

Seasonally adjusted data showed that the number of people looking for a job rose to 2.9 million in October -- a 3.3 percentage point increase from September and a massive 28.9 percentage point rise from October 2011.

Among young people aged between 15 and 24, the unemployment rate rose to 36.5 percent in October -- a 0.6-point increase from September and 5.8 points higher than in October 2011.

Unemployment has risen sharply in Italy since the summer of last year when the economy began contracting under pressure from a series of austerity measures aimed at reassuring the financial markets.

The government is hoping a recovery will begin in 2013.

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