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Confindustria paints bleak economic picture

'Comparison with Germany is merciless,' says report

16 December, 15:04
Confindustria paints bleak economic picture (ANSA) - Rome, December 16 - A bleak picture of Italy's economy emerged from a report released Thursday by the research arm of Confindustria, a national organization representing Italian industry, disappointing hopes for signs of economic rebound after the global financial crisis set off the grimmest economic recession seen here in 60 years. "(Italy's) illness of slow growth has never been cured.

Comparison with Germany is merciless," stated the report.

Near-stagnant growth estimates for Italy were revised downward, as Confindustria economists cut estimates for gross domestic product from +1.2% to +1% for 2010, and from +1.3% to +1.1% for 2011. Confindustria sees the Italian workforce continuing to shrink next year, though far less dramatically than before, losing -0.4% over the course of 2011. Unemployment is likely to hit 9% in the last trimester of 2011, its studies centre said. Unemployment was 8.6% in November of this year, according to the state statistics agency ISTAT. Confindustria forecasts job creation is not likely to pick up again until 2012.

Unemployment more than doubled from April 2007 to October 2010, reaching 2.167 million people. From the first trimester of 2008 to the third trimester of 2010, the country lost 540,000 jobs, and an additional 480,000 posts were temporarily suspended with state subsidies given to workers. The report also said difficult credit conditions have yet to ease, since loans to families, businesses and regional governments continue to accrue losses, as do residual toxic assets from the economic crisis.

Confindustria criticized Basil 3, the revised international banking accord intended to shore up global finance, for overly restricting growth and providing insufficient measures to guarantee future stability.

photo: Confindustria chief Emma Marcegaglia