Work, employment is growing but wages are stagnant

New record in the number of people employed in Italy and unemployment decreasing. However, we still remain among the last in Europe. Salary increases regulated by a collective agreement, but less than inflation. Furthermore, half of these employees have been waiting for many months for their agreements to be renewed and their salaries to be adjusted

The number of Italians with a job is still increasing. In fact, it has never been as high as last December, when people with a job, Istat tells us, exceeded 23 and a half million.

Record employment but far from European levels

The employment rate, i.e. the percentage of those who have a job, is also rising, reaching almost 62 percent. A share, however, that continues to leave us at the bottom of the European ranking, where – according to the latest findings – we are last, with even wider gaps when it comes to women.

Unemployment falling

At the same time, unemployment is decreasing, falling to 7.2 percent, a level however higher than the continental average and which places us in the ranking ahead of only a handful of countries (Greece, Spain and Sweden did worse than us in the months past).

The job market is doing well despite the high rates

It must be said that rising employment and falling unemployment characterize the entire Eurozone. A trend that seems to contrast classical economic theories, given that with higher interest rates, investments become more expensive and the labor market should suffer as a result.

Salaries are growing but it’s not enough

As regards wages, the Statistics Office explains that last year, on average, they rose by 3.1 percent per year. These are only the salaries of those with a national employment contract, but the increase recorded is well below inflation, which in 2023 was 5.7 percent.

The high cost of living eats up wage increases

In practice, these salaries have actually decreased because, although the paycheck appears heavier, with that money you can buy fewer things than before due to price increases. Furthermore, the increase – adds Istat – was largely due to the advance given to state workers waiting for the renewal of the contract. And in total half of the employees are waiting for collective agreements and wages to be adjusted.