The Ministry of Labor, in collaboration with the Bank of Italy, has recently published the data relating to the evolution of employment relationships as at 30 June last. Very interesting reading, even if obviously a little technical.
Let's say immediately that the data does not reveal any particular surprises, taking into account the national social and economic context, which is inevitably affected by the international one. As we have well learned to consider, the whole world is wrapped in a web that involves and integrates economically, some more, some less, states and companies. A picture of great complexity where facts and trends that seem very far in the end impact on the life of each of us. Let's remember, this picture. It is indisputably in great evolution, at every level of analysis. Economies are expanding, but with many weaknesses in evidence.
We mentioned in a previous article, for example, the increase in the prices of raw materials at a global level which helps to move inflation upwards. Less in Europe, more in the United States. Most people believe that the rise is temporary and not structural, due to the rebound of the economies that in a very short time have accelerated the post-Covid recovery.
The prices of raw materials increase because there is a shortage with respect to demand, and this in turn creates difficulties in many production sectors: such as in the semiconductor (chip) sector, now indispensable for many manufacturing sectors.
The government and central banking authorities (the Federal Reserve in the US and the ECB in Europe) are closely monitoring the evolution of the situation, ready to intervene with the monetary policy tools available. For the moment, however, a relative calm remains.
The USA with the new Biden administration has started a patient work of re-weaving the privileged relationship with Europe, rather damaged by Trump's choices, appealing to the common liberal and democratic values of the West, first of all in an anti-Chinese key.
China launched into full economic recovery and beyond, does not disdain to send signals to the West of the ill-concealed superiority of its economic model of state capitalism, authoritarian. The closure of "Apple Daily" pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong, the most stringent regulations for Chinese companies listed on the American market, certain targeted actions to contain technology companies so that they do not assume too much power: all precise signals that Xi Jin Ping sends to its citizens but also to Westerners.
Europe, literally transformed by the pandemic in its approaches to problems and the consequent solutions, does not skimp on economic and financial aid by making masses of money available to the Member States as never before, resorting to forms of self-financing on the markets until recently. it does not even in the least considered possible for political reasons. It is strongly committed to designing, accelerating its digital transformation, the green future of the entire European community. The so-called “Fit for 55” program envisages an energy transformation of the productive world, I would say almost radical, to achieve the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55% (compared to 1990) within this decade and to zero by half a century.
Meanwhile, Covid continues to remind everyone, all over the world, that it is still here, threatening and fearful, and that it is necessary to persevere in countering it by all means. We could go on and on, but the meaning is very clear: a period of great uncertainty, of great complexity and fragility. The feeling of being at a turning point in history.
Moreover, the pandemic has given events a dizzying acceleration: today it is clear to everyone that we are experiencing a vintage change, where conceptual paradigms, systems of thought, economic models that have characterized the world for decades and that seemed unsurpassable are even called into question. It is no coincidence, in fact, that the need to re-found capitalism on different assumptions is openly discussed, more attentive to the environment, to society and not only to the mere remuneration of shareholders.
So what do these figures from the Ministry of Labor tell us? As a demonstration of the cobweb that surrounds everything and everyone, the trend of employment in Italy is absolutely consistent with this picture of enormous fragility and uncertainty. Work is not created by decree but is developed thanks to many factors that create or consolidate the favorable conditions for companies to do business, produce, and therefore need workforce, people as well as technologies.
Let's see these data. The positive trend in employment, which had already been highlighted in April with the resumption of economic activities following the control of Covid, was "significantly strengthened" in the following months, favored by the progress of the vaccination campaign and the overcoming of restrictions on activities economic.
Overall, 719.000 employees were created in the six months of the year, more than 12% more than in the same semester of 2019, therefore before the pandemic. The rebound, therefore. The overwhelming majority are fixed-term jobs, 611 thousand in the semester net of terminations.
Many considerations can be made on such a fact, rightly so. However, one thing is certain: companies have a clear understanding of that complexity and uncertainties and therefore inevitably proceed with extreme caution in resorting to stable and lasting employment relationships. Moreover, there are also, unfortunately more and more, considerations on the mismatch between the needs of businesses and the professional skills available on the market. Unfortunately, because this symbolizes a lack of our education and training system, which is struggling to keep up with the times.
“The growth rates of permanent positions remain extremely modest, slightly lower than those recorded last year. The positive effect on the balances due to the blocking of layoffs for economic reasons was offset by the extreme weakness of hiring and permanent transformations "
The industry is growing well: in the first six months it created 165 thousand new jobs, more than in the same period of 2019. But they are also growing rapidly in services, which until April - the Ministry tells us - were instead almost at a standstill.
Another significant figure is the positive net balance of new female jobs in the semester, higher than in 2019.
These employment data, although related only to employees, certainly reflect one recovery phase, however, still marked by uncertainty and fragility.
On the other hand, the recent data on the estimates of the Gross Domestic Product released by the EU Commission also indicate that our country is on a good road to recovery: at the end of the year, in fact, a positive change of about 5% is expected, up from the 4,2% expected in the spring. With this step, in 2022 Italy will have fully recovered the losses due to the pandemic.
Institutional and sector information sources also indicate a positive sentiment of operators with respect to the immediate, despite the considerable amount of uncertainties. It is no coincidence that the ISTAT survey at the end of July of the confidence index of manufacturing and services companies (on expectations relating to their business) shows an improvement and, in particular in services, "a marked increase in confidence, definitely exceeding the levels prior to the crisis".
Much will also depend on the actual ability to implement, and therefore to affect, the PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) recently presented by the Draghi Government to the European institutions and approved by them. So come on European funds. And from effectiveness of the vaccination plan to limit the pandemic and therefore the risks of new closures as much as possible.