This analysis refers to the situation in the Apulia Region before the pandemic crisis as described by Eure’s research.
The employment rate of the active population (aged between 15 and 64) is 46.8 %, of whom 33.2 % are women and 60.7 % are men (first quarter 2019), divided between agriculture, industry, construction and services (the latter including catering). This reflects the performance of the economy, with the number of growing sectors, especially food production, exceeding those that are declining. In the mechanical sector, overall growth was also recorded, although activity declined for some large automotive sector companies. The steel industry was in decline, affected by the negative trend of the summer months despite the increase in exports in the first half of the year.
Employment continued to inch up in the first half of 2019, albeit at a slightly lower intensity than in 2018. The number of people in work increased by 1.4 % compared to the same period of the previous year, a figure that remains higher than the national average (0.5 %) and in contrast to Southern Italy (-0.4 %). However, overall employment in Puglia remains 3.7 % lower (-47 000 people) than the peak level before the 2008 crisis, a gap largely in line with the figure for Southern Italy.
Similarly to 2018, the region’s employment has benefited from growth in industrial production and in services. By contrast, employment fell markedly in agriculture and construction. Self-employment grew more strongly than employed work. In the first 6 months of 2019, the balance between recruitments and terminations in the private sector excluding agriculture was in line with the same period of the previous year. The greatest contribution still comes from fixed-term contracts, although their share of total new contracts decreased compared to the first half of 2018. On the other hand, net recruitments on permanent contracts increased, many through the conversion of fixed-term contracts.
On the other hand, the number of NEETs (2019 data) remains worrying, at 295 000, against 2 940 000 in Italy overall and 1 663 000 in Southern Italy.
In 2020 during the pandemic crises, the situation has not changed too much regarding the permanent employers since the government approved a decree impeding the termination of contracts still ongoing.
An important tool implemented by the Apulia region to fight youth unemployment is the program so-called “Estrazione di Talenti” (https://estrazionedeitalenti.arti.puglia.it/). The instrument finances tailor-made coach paths for a team of young new entrepreneurs. Groups of at least 3 people with an innovative idea can submit a proposal and get coaching from the so-called “Factory”. The grant is equal to 10 million euros for 3 years.