MILAN – While Italy's economic growth has picked up this year, it belies grim realities below the surface, few of which are being addressed directly as politicians stump for a national ballot on March 4.
The economy is forecast to grow by a decent rate of 1.5 percent this year, but that still lags the wider eurozone's estimated 2 percent. The economy is smaller than it was at the start of the economic downturn in 2008, unemployment remains at a high 10.8 percent and wage growth is below 1 percent. Household savings, long held as the counterweight to Italy's enormous government debt, have dwindled.
Jack Allen, an analyst at Capital Economics says: "None of the parties seem likely to address some of the major underlying sources of Italy's economic weakness."