Despite the best efforts of technocratic Prime Minister Mario Monti to reform his country’s sclerotic economic system, Italy remains an awful place for the young to find work. The labor reform passed in the spring has been hailed as a major step forward, but as the FT points out, its focus was nearly entirely on the older generation and did little to alleviate conditions for Italian youth. The “reforms” may even have made things worse:
At 36 per cent, Italy’s youth unemployment rate is more than three times the overall level. As in Spain and Greece, where youth unemployment rates are even higher, fears are widespread that a generation could fall through the cracks. And critics say that Italy’s recent labour reforms have only reinforced practices that penalise young workers. […]One of the main problems with the labour laws, according to Mr Boeri, is that newly hired workers with a permanent contract immediately get the same protection as somebody who has worked at a company for 30 years. This dissuades companies from hiring and leads young workers to a future of jumping indefinitely from one job to the next. Ultimately, it results in lower economic output for Italy.
Ugly and worrying. Tepid reforms, passed after months of wrangling, fail to address the country’s biggest problems. Securing passage of even this watered-down bill took a tremendous expenditure of political capital on Monti’s part, and it does not appear likely that another comparable measure will emerge from Italy’s fractious politics anytime soon. A generation of workers is at risk and the political system can’t respond.Read more Via Meadia on Italy and the War on the Young.