Italy Worst in the EU 40 Billion Wages Were Lost

In 2020 Italy lost over 39.2 billion in wages and salaries with a decrease of 7.47% on 2019. This can be read in the updated Eurostat tables on the main components of GDP, according to which it went from 525.732 billion in 2019 to 486.459 billion. In the same period 32 billion were lost in France (but on a wage bill that went from 930 to 898 billion) with a -3.42% and in Germany just 13 billion out of over 1,500 (-0.87%).

In the EU27, the decline in the total wages was 1.92%. The figure is linked to the long lockdown periods and other closures with the reduction in employment and the massive use of the Cig.

Comparison with previous years – The figure on the mass of wages at current prices in 2020 in Italy (486.59 billion) is lower than the levels of 2016 (it was 490.6 billion) and effectively eliminates the growth recorded in wages at starting from 2015 with the tax deduction on hiring introduced by the Renzi government.

The situation in the rest of Europe – In the same period in the major European countries the reduction was smaller, while in some such as Holland there was even an increase in the wage bill at current prices (+ 3.29%). A drop comparable to the Italian one had Spain with 28.37 billion less wages equal to a drop of 6.44% but with a more substantial reduction in employment. In Spain in the year of the pandemic almost 600 thousand employees were lost compared to 464 thousand fewer in Italy (data that does not take into account the new calculation rules according to which those who have been on layoffs for over three months are not considered employed).

In Italy, the decline in the overall wages was linked to restrictions on activities to contain the contagion from Covid, with the collapse of fixed-term contracts and the widespread use of social safety nets. Employers’ social contributions fell from 194.2 billion in 2019 to 184 in 2020 with a reduction of 5.24%. In the same period in the EU, social contributions, again at current prices, fell by 1.37%.

Between 2019 and 2020, the gross domestic product at market prices (current prices), according to Eurostat, decreased from 1,790.94 billion to 1,651.59 with a decrease of 7.78% (-8.9% the contraction calculated instead from Istat in volume).