The numbers are merciless and say that on the employment front the most damaged by the crisis are women. In December, Istat certifies an overall decline in jobs of 0.4% compared to November (in absolute terms it means 101,000 fewer employees), but what is striking is the fact that the decline is largely concentrated on the female. Compared to November, women in employment decreased by 99,000 in December, while men fell by 2,000 jobs. A similar phenomenon is recorded on a trend basis: in December, female employment marks a setback of 3.2% compared to December 2019, while male employment drops 1%. The final balance of a year marked by ten months of pandemic translates into a loss of 444,000 jobs (there are 312,000 fewer women in the world of work, men decrease by 132,000 units), on an annual basis means a overall reduction of the employed by 1.9%.
The number of job seekers is decreasing
Over the twelve months, Istat also recorded a decrease in the number of people looking for work (-8.9%, i.e. 222,000 units less), with an unemployment rate of 9% (on an annual basis unemployment among young people under 24 increases by 1.3% and reaches 29.7%), a figure which, moreover, is accompanied by a jump in the number of inactive persons: unemployed people who have abandoned the search for a job grew by 482 thousand units. An overall picture that, in the comment on the data for the month of December, the Institute of Statistics summarizes, explaining that: Employment returns to decrease, interrupting the positive trend that between July and November had led to a recovery of 220 thousand employees, the concentrated decline on women and involves both employees and the self-employed.
Positive signals from manufacturing
The analysis on the December data also allows us to draw up a balance sheet of the health emergency starting from March last year: compared to February 2020, the employed decreased by 420 thousand units, the unemployed by 150 thousand and the inactive that’s 400 thousand more. These figures are not very comforting, partly mitigated by the signals on the manufacturing front. In January, the Italian figure for the SME index, which monitors the confidence of corporate purchasing managers, touched the highest levels since March 2018 and rose to 55.1 points compared to 52.8 in December.