Migrant workers during a labour union demonstration in Foggia | Photo: ANSA/FRANCO CAUTILLO
Migrant workers during a labour union demonstration in Foggia | Photo: ANSA/FRANCO CAUTILLO

Foreign worker employment in Italy has been hit by COVID harder than that of Italian workers, with a drop of 11.2% in non-EU worker employment in the second trimester of 2020 compared to the previous year. EU citizen employment meanwhile dropped by 8.2%.

Employment of foreign workers has been hit by the COVID pandemic even harder than that of Italian workers.

The Italian labor ministry said that in the 2nd trimester of 2020, foreign worker employment dropped by 11.2% (190,330 fewer workers compared to the previous year); EU citizen employment dropped by 8.2% (67,000 fewer workers) and Italian worker employment dropped by 2.8% (583,000 fewer).

Overall, the loss of foreign workers came to 257,000, while the unemployment rate is 10.6% among EU citizens, 9.8% for non-EU citizens, and 7.4% for Italians.

Data on foreigners in Italian labor market

The bi-annual report "Foreigners in the Italian labor market" by the Italian labour ministry's General Directorate for Immigration and Integration Policy and the National Agency of Active Labor Policies (ANPAL) Services showed that the number of people looking for work fell among all groups of workers: down 22.6% for Italians, 39.2% for EU citizens, and 40% for non-EU workers.

In the same context, the number of inactive workers grew by 359,000 among foreign workers and by 951,000 among Italians.

The drop in foreign employment hit the hardest among under-24 EU workers and in all sectors, starting with financial and insurance services (-76.8% on an annual basis), hotels and restaurants (-19.3%), construction (-13.7%), and other collective and personal services (-13%).

On the other hand, employment grew among non-EU citizens in agriculture (+0.3%) and all foreigners in news and communication services (+78.9%), civil service and defence, and mandatory social security (+190.2%).

Negative impact on women

Hiring data showed there was a greater negative impact on the female work force and on workers under age 24 and between ages 25-34, regardless of citizenship.

Data showed, in general, that in the second trimester of 2020 the trend variation in jobs for EU workers was -40.4%, -42.8% for non-EU workers, and -46.1% for Italian workers.

Overall, a total of 1,441,666 jobs were lost between the second trimester of 2019 and the second trimester of 2020.

Of these, 1,182,632 were Italians, 181,502 non-EU citizens, and 77,532 EU citizens.

The biggest drops were in apprenticeships (-64.6% for EU citizens and -65.3% for non-EU citizens), and categories classified as "other" (-56.4% and -54.1%, respectively) and temporary work.

Overall, just under 200,000 temp jobs were lost, and 40,000 of these were foreign workers. The number of terminated jobs experienced a decrease trend in the first two trimesters of 2020, running parallel to the decrease in new jobs.

For EU workers in the second trimester of 2020, the decrease was 32.6% (50,022 workers), and 30.6% for non-EU workers (100,013).


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