August 14, 2020

The pandemic exacerbates inequalities and job insecurity in Italy



The coronavirus pandemic in Italy, one of the most affected countries, hit hardest the vulnerable strata of society, increased social inequalities and job insecurity, especially in the impoverished south of the country, according to the annual report of the Statistics National Institute.

The study, presented today in the Chamber of Deputies, draws a social structure in crisis already before the impact of COVID-19, which is expected to aggravate reduced mobility between classes and further slow down the low birth rate that occurs in Italy.

“Precariousness, part-time work and conciliation, more difficult with the closure of schools and the impossibility of resorting to family networks, causes a risk of amplification of inequalities and disadvantage for women,” says ISTAT .

The report also warns of the risks of closing schools and distance education: “inequality among children grows due to the digital divide and the lack of computer equipment”, since 12% of children between 6 and 17 years old they do not have a computer, figures that rise to 19% in the south.

Teleworking, implanted at full speed in Italy due to the rapid spread of the virus, has great “potential” but also highlights the differences in digital matters in different parts of the country, in addition to blurring the border between working hours and of leisure.

The outlook in the labor sector was already dark before the pandemic, as youth, southern workers and those with less education have not recovered their occupation levels from before the 2008 crisis.

Although the inequality between men and women in terms of occupation has decreased in the last decade, they work in more precarious sectors or with hours considered “antisocial”, at night, in shifts or on weekends.

The economic crisis derived from the pandemic has been primed with the high number of irregular workers, more than six million people, especially in domestic work (58.3% of the total sector) and in agriculture (23.8% ).

These working conditions and the “climate of uncertainty and fear” associated with the coronavirus crisis, cause a large drop in the birth rate in the near future and 396,000 children are expected to be born in 2021, a rapid decrease compared to 439,000. were born in 2018.

Regarding economic indicators, ISTAT presents an uncertain panorama in an economy already stagnant before the pandemic, which went from having weak GDP growth of 0.3% in 2019 to a fall of 5.3% in the first 2020 quarter.

During confinement, the evaluation made by Italians of some of their institutions, especially of the Civil Protection, increased, scoring with 8.7 on a scale of 1 to 10, or of health personnel, who received a 9.

Regarding the effects on virus mortality, large increases are certified in the most affected provinces, such as Bergamo, where it increased 571% in March, Cremona (401%) or Lodi (377%), all of them in the region. from Lombardy, where the disease hit hardest.

Throughout the country, mortality increased almost 50% in March compared to the average of the last four years, with 80,000 deaths, 26,000 more than normal.

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