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Italian president calls for better economic performance despite stable unemployment
Last Updated: 2017-12-01 10:47 | Xinhua
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Italy's October unemployment was steady at 11.1 percent compared to the previous month, but more must be done to combat the inequalities the economic crisis has left in its wake, Italian President Sergio Mattarella said Thursday.

The president's comments came after official statistics institute ISTAT also reported that according to its provisional data, unemployment among youth aged 15-24 dropped by 0.7 percent to 34.7 percent in October.

The Italian numbers compared to an overall jobless rate of 8.8 percent in the 19-countryEurozoneand of 7.4 percent in theEuropean Union, according to EU statistics office EUROSTAT.

Also for comparison, October unemployment stood at 3.6 percent inGermanyand at 16.7 percent inSpain, said EUROSTAT.

Mattarella said that while "employment levels have improved" and gross domestic product (GDP) growth "is better than expected", the ongoing recovery "has not yet impacted on the imbalances created by the crisis, which must be faced and redressed."

As well, ISTAT said 73,000 jobs or 0.3 percent were added in the August-October period, all of them on temporary contracts. On a yearly basis, unemployment dropped by 4.6 percent and employment grew by 1.1 percent.

While unemployment is still high, positive new data appears to suggest Italy's economy has turned a corner after over half a decade of stagnation.

Earlier this month, ISTAT raised its 2017 GDP growth forecast to 1.5 percent based on new jobs and domestic demand, while Standard & Poor's ratings agency said Italy's GDP grew 1.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017, the highest read in six years.

However like Mattarella, center-left Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni also has warned Italy is not out of the woods yet, and unemployment is still the biggest issue the government must tackle.

"Economic recoveries can take place without (creating new) jobs", and it is the task of government to "intervene against exclusion and poverty", Gentiloni said earlier this month.

Popular discontent over unemployment is a key issue as Italy's political parties try to sway voters their way ahead of the next general election, likely to be held in spring 2018.

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