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Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s unemployment rate rose to a 17-month high of 8.5 percent in October amid an austerity drive aimed at shielding the euro-area’s second most-indebted country from the sovereign crisis.
The jobless rate increased from 8.3 percent in September and was the highest since May 2010, when it reached 8.7 percent. Economists had expected the rate to remain unchanged, the median estimate of eight forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey showed.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is planning to announce plans to cut the nation’s 1.9 trillion-euro ($2.6 billion) debt next week before he attends his first European Union summit since being sworn in on Nov. 16. The measures may total about 20 billion euros, Ansa newswire reported yesterday, and Monti has said the government may also modify labor laws.
Joblessness among those between ages 15 and 24 dropped to 29.2 percent last month from a revised 29.4 percent in September, according to Istat, which originally reported a rate of 29.3 percent in September.
--Editors: Jeffrey Donovan, Andrew Davis
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