(ANSA) - Rome, December 19 - Italy's recession in 2013 was more severe than expected, the country's powerful industrial employers' confederation Confindustria said Thursday. Confindustria lowered its forecast for Italy's gross domestic product (GDP), saying it will have contracted by 1.8% in 2013 instead of its previous estimate of a 1.6% contraction. The industry group left unchanged its prediction that Italy's GDP will grow by 0.7% in 2014, and said GDP growth in 2015 is likely to be 1.2%. Italy's deficit-to-GDP ratio for 2014 and 2015 are forecast to improve, narrowing by 2.7% and 2.4% respectively, to reach 132% in 2015, or 128.2% when support from European stability funds is included. Confindustria said Italy's deficit-to-GDP ratio this year will come in at 132.6%, not counting European stability funds. However, when the European support is included, Italy's deficit-to-GDP ratio for this year will be 129.8%.