FACT-CHECK: Employment at maximum levels since April 2008, general #unemployment down 0.4 points, youth unemployment at its lowest level since 2011. It is not enough, of course, but we are changing the world of #work: the growth of permanent jobs proves this. The data on #Pil (GDP) also tells us that the country is starting up again
By Danilo Toninelli

Danilo Toninelli, Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, made a claim the 30th April of 2019 referring to different economic aspects:

Unpacking these claims

Danilo Toninelli makes a number of claims in this tweet. First, that employment rates are the highest since April 2008. Second, that unemployment has fallen 0.4 points. Third, that unemployment among young people is the lowest in Italy since 2011, and fourth, that Italy’s GDP data shows the country is ‘starting up again’.Employment rates are the highest since April 2008

Employment rates are the highest since April 2008

The employment rate is the ratio between the total population of working age and the population in employment. Population of working age is something Eurostat defines as people in the age range 20-64. According to statistics from Eurostat, we can see that employment rates have been steadily increasing since 2000, reaching a small peak of 62,9 percent in 2008. After this peak, the employment rates dropped the years after the financial crisis. In 2013, the employment rates started to rise again reaching a new peak level 2018 of 63 percent. This makes this first part of Danilo Toninelli’s statement TRUE.

Source: Eurostat

Worth noting is that the EU average of employment rate lies at 73,2 percent, meaning that Italy is still far behind other member states. The only country with a current employment rate lower than Italy’s is Greece with 59,5 percent. TRUE

Unemployment Falling 0.4 points

This is hard to fact check, as Toninelli does not give a time frame in this claim. In the last month, unemployment in Italy has fallen 0.3 points, but over the past six months, the rate has fallen 0.4 points. This statistic is slightly misleading on its own, as six months ago, in October 2018, unemployment spiked 0.3 from the month before. If Toninelli is looking at a six month period, then this part of his claim is TRUE.

Youth unemployment lowest since 2011

Toninelli tweets specifically about youth unemployment and how this has been as its lowest since 2011. As the United Nations agreed for statistical consistency, youth is defined as the people between the ages of 15-24. This is also what Eurostat defines as a youth. According to Eurostat, the youth unemployment (people with less than 25 years of age) is in fact at its lowest since 2011 in Italy. At that point, youth unemployment rates lied at 29,2 percent. Since 2011, youth unemployment steadily rose until reaching a peak in 2014 at around 43 percent. Since then, the youth unemployment has steadily declined and is currently at a rate of 30,2 percent (according to Istat, the Italian National Institute of Statistic).

Nonetheless, this is still a higher youth unemployment rate than what was displayed before 2011. In 2007 Italy displayed youth unemployment rates of around 20 percent. Hence, the choice of 2011 as a reference point might be questionable. The statement in the tweet is TRUE.

Italy still has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the EU, with only Spain and Greece displaying higher numbers.

PIL (Prodotto Interno Lordo) otherwise known as GDP (Gross Domestic Product)

Gross Domestic Product refers to the total value of everything produced in the country, in a given period. It doesn’t matter if the producers are citizens or foreigners, as long as it’s produced in the country.

According to the Italian Institute of Statistic the GDP has increased by 0.2 percent in comparison to the previous quarter and by 0.1 per cent over the same quarter of previous year. With quarter we refer to a three month period that is used in financial activities. Quarter refers to one-fourth of a year, meaning:

For the moment, the annual GDP growth for 2019 is equal to 0.1%.  We can see there is a growing trend in the GDP. Therefore, the claim is true.

Employment at maximum levels since April 2008, general #unemployment down 0.4 points, youth unemployment at its lowest level since 2011. It is not enough, of course, but we are changing the world of #work: the growth of permanent jobs proves this. The data on #Pil (GDP) also tells us that the country is starting up again. In isolation, the statistics cited by Toninelli can be misleading, this claim is true overall.