‘Italy may take 20 years to reduce unemployment’

Washington, 27 July (IANS/AKI) Italy could take 20 years for employment to return to the levels seen before its worst post-war recession, unless it achieves strong economic growth, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.

“It will take Spain 10 years and Portugal and Italy almost 20 years to reduce the unemployment rate to pre-crisis levels,” the IMF said in a report on the Eurozone.

Italian joblessness currently stands at 12.4 percent, lower than the 13 percent peak seen last year but has almost doubled since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008.

Unemployment levels are set to stay high in the whole eurozone for some time to come, the IMF said.

The IMF urged Italy to push ahead with reforms of its civil service, legal system and jobs market, and to increase competition in the service sector and public tenders.

Italy exited a three-year-long recession in the first quarter of the year when its economy expanded 0.3 percent but it is forecast to grow just 0.7 percent this year and by 1.4-1.5 percent in 2016.

The economy has shrunk by a tenth compared with 2007.

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