Last updated: February 28. 2014 9:38AM - 618 Views
Associated Press



Italian premier Matteo Renzi listens to the debate prior to a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies, in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Senate voted 169-139 to confirm Renzi's broad coalition, which ranges from his center-left Democrats to center-right forces formerly loyal to ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi. Renzi needed at least 155 votes to clinch the victory, one of two mandatory confidence votes. The second vote, in the Chamber of Deputies, is expected later Tuesday. Renzi's coalition has a comfortable majority in the lower chamber. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Italian premier Matteo Renzi listens to the debate prior to a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies, in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Senate voted 169-139 to confirm Renzi's broad coalition, which ranges from his center-left Democrats to center-right forces formerly loyal to ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi. Renzi needed at least 155 votes to clinch the victory, one of two mandatory confidence votes. The second vote, in the Chamber of Deputies, is expected later Tuesday. Renzi's coalition has a comfortable majority in the lower chamber. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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(AP) Italy's new premier has vowed that his government's top focus will be reducing unemployment, which has hit a new high.


Premier Matteo Renzi tweeted during a Cabinet meeting Friday that the 12.9 percent unemployment figure for January was "shocking." He pledged to focus efforts of his week-old government on his so-called Jobs Act. That is his plan for legislation to encourage hiring by slashing payroll taxes and allowing more flexibility in how permanent contracts are given.


January's figure was up 0.2 percentage points from December. Also worrisome was a record 42.4 percent unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24. In the south, youth unemployment soared past 51 percent. Even in the industrial north, nearly one of out of every three people in that age range is unemployed.


Associated Press
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