ROME (REUTERS) - Italy's jobless rate rose in November to a new record high of 12.7 per cent, data showed on Wednesday, and youth unemployment also hit its highest level on record above 41 per cent.
The data show that some timid signs of economic recovery are having no impact on the labour market and underline the tough task facing Enrico Letta's fragile coalition government to create jobs and growth.
National statistics institute ISTAT reported that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased unexpectedly in November to 12.7 per cent from 12.5 per cent the month before, reaching its highest level since current records began in 1977.
The average forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts had pointed to a stable reading of 12.5 per cent.
Youth unemployment, measuring those who are not studying and are unable to find work among 15-24 year-olds, also rose to a new all-time high of 41.6 per cent from an upwardly revised 41.4 per cent the month before.
The employment rate - showing Italians in work as a proportion of the working-age population - edged down to 55.4 per cent from 55.5 per cent the previous month.
Unemployment has been rising steadily since early 2011 as Italy has languished in its longest post-war recession.
Most analysts believe the country may be gradually moving towards a shallow recovery but conflict between the partners in Letta's left-right governing coalition has complicated efforts to reform the economy and boost growth.
Analysts say the biggest challenge for Italy is to increase its chronically low rates of employment and participation in the labour market, which are among the lowest in the industrialized world, especially among women, the young and the elderly.
In November, there were 55,000 fewer people in work compared with the month before, and 448,000 less than in November 2012.