Rome, April 3 (IANS/AKI) Italian unemployment in February rose to 9.3 percent, the highest level since 2003 as the eurozone's third richest country struggles to pull itself out of recession.
In the last three months of last year, 9.6 percent of Italian workers were unemployed, the worst job market since 1999.
There were 1.2 percent more jobless Italians in February than the same month last year and 0.2 percent more than January, national statistics agency Istat said Monday in a statement about preliminary unemployment data.
Almost 32 percent of workers between 15 and 24-years old were without work in February, according to Istat.
Italy's economy is in a recession that isn't expected to end this year. Almost 12,000 businesses closed their doors in 2011, the most in four years, the Cgia di Mestre small business trade group said Saturday.
Italy's economy contracted during the final two quarters of last year, meaning the country is in recession. The International Monetary Fund forecasts the economy will shrink 2.2 percent this year.
Italy's unemployment situation is better than the average of the 17 country's that use the euro currency.
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