Italy is the eighth largest economy in the world, the fourth largest in Europe, and one of the main export countries worldwide. Italy's gross domestic product (GDP) amounts to almost two trillion U.S. dollars, while the GDP per capita reaches around 30 thousand euros. Nevertheless, data show substantial regional differences within the country. The GDP in the north Italian Province of Bozen added up to 48 thousand euros per capita, whereas the same figure in the southern region of Calabria is equal to roughly 17 thousand euros. Overall, the four Italian macro-regions also develop at slightly different but generally very low rates: the GDP in the North-East of Italy grew by 0.5 percent in 2019, while the South and the Islands registered an increase of 0.2 percent.
Italy is the ninth leading export country in the world. In 2019, the country registered an export value of approximately 530 billion U.S. dollars. Italy’s main trade partner is Germany, which accounted for 58 billion euros of Italian export value, followed by France and the United States. Overall, countries of the European Union are among the main trading partners for Italy, regarding both imports and exports. Italy's largest exporting industry is machineries and equipment. Textiles, clothing, leather goods, and accessories represented the second largest exporting industry in the country. Indeed, the country is the first exporter of leather worldwide. However, Italy's industrial growth decreased significantly during 2020. Generally, all sectors experienced a drop, in particular during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Among the most affected sectors, there are those of machinery and equipment, transport equipment, leather and clothing, as well as coke and refined petroleum products.
In the last decades, Italy has ben hit by two major crisis, the financial crisis in 2008 and the pandemic in 2020. One factor to observe what these crisis meant for the consumers is the inflation. Between 2004 and 2020, the highest inflation was recorded in 2008. When the financial crisis hit Italy, the inflation in the country reached 3.3 percent. The main way to measure inflation is to observe the movement of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI analyzes the changes in the prices of goods and services that households consume. Thus, an increase in CPI figures means a devaluation of the purchasing power in a given currency. In 2020, the inflation rate in Italy stood at minus 0.1 percent. In the current COVID-19 crisis, Italy experienced a deflation. A deflation, instead, might bring to a decrease in prices due to a generally lower demand in comparison to the supply of goods and services. Nevertheless, the purchasing power is not necessarily going to rise due to other factors to taken into account such as the unemployment and the drop in salaries. When the unemployment rate rises, the salaries might drop, and so the purchasing power. In addition, people will likely tend to spend less in a situation of uncertainty.
The unemployment rate in Italy reached 9.3 percent in 2020, a decrease compared to previous years. However, the consequences on the coronavirus pandemic on the job market could be visible only in the next years. Together with the general economic performance of the regions, also the employment reveals disparities within the country. The highest unemployment rate was registered in the South of Italy. In particular, in Calabria, Sicily, and Campania, the shares of people without a job ranged from 18.7 percent to 21.6 percent. In this dramatic scenario, young people suffer disproportionately. Nationwide, the share of young unemployed people is three times higher than the general one. In 2020, around 30 percent of individuals aged 15 to 24 years were unemployed. The labor market crisis became more significant after 2008, when figures started to increase, amounting to 42.7 percent in 2013. Nowadays, the situation for some areas of the country is still impressive: in Sicily, Calabria, and Campania, about half of the people aged 15 to 24 years are unemployed.
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In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Key indicators of Italy's economy".