The centre of Turin was “invaded” Tuesday by a procession of thousands of blue-collar workers organized by the Fiom union to highlight the crisis hitting the manufacturing sector. In addition to the march, a dozen factories in the historic car production centre are taking strike action.
Italian manufacturing activity shrunk for the 20th straight month in March and at the fastest rate since August last year, suggesting that Italy’s longest recession for 20 years may be deepening.
The manufacturing sector accounts for about a fifth of Italian economic output.
Long running declines in output, orders and jobs all steepened in March. New orders hit their lowest level since May last year, while manufacturing output and employment both posted seven-month lows.
The eurozone’s third-largest economic has contracted for six consecutive quarters and hopes of a recovery in the second half of this year are dwindling as most monthly indicators continue to worsen.
Joblessness has been rising steadily for the last year and data for January showed youth unemployment at an all-time high of 39 percent.
Last month Mario Monti’s outgoing technocrat government forecast gross domestic product would fall by 1.3% this year following last year’s 2.4% drop, but this is widely seen as too optimistic.
Sources: La Repubblica, Reuters