In 2011 employment fell again, albeit by less than in 2010 (0.2 per cent compared with 1.3 per cent). The contraction in industry was 0.6 per cent, while employment in services rose very slightly by 0.1 per cent. Firms expected the negative trend to continue in 2012 and to affect both industry and services, with contractions of respectively 1.4 and 0.7 per cent.
The number of hours paid by the Wage Supplementation Fund for industrial firms with 50 or more workers declined to 4.8 per cent of hours actually worked in 2011 from 6.0 per cent in 2010, thus remaining at a historically high level.
Turnover in real terms stagnated, falling by 0.2 per cent compared with 2010. Industry recorded an increase of 1.5 per cent, especially among exporting firms (4.8 per cent), offset by the decrease of 2.1 per cent in the service sector.
The proportion of loss-making firms fell (from 25.5 to 24.7 per cent), as did that of those reporting a profit (from 57.9 to 57.4 per cent). The balance between firms making a profit and those making a loss accordingly remained virtually unchanged.
Gross fixed investment fell by 2.6 per cent in real terms in 2011, after rising by 3.6 per cent in 2010. The decline was especially pronounced among industrial firms with fewer than 200 workers and among those whose primary focus is on the domestic market. Corporate plans for 2012 point to a sharp decline of 6.3 per cent in investment, particularly in manufacturing (above all in the sectors making traditional Italian products).
The share of firms reporting that their applications for new loans had been rejected in whole or in part by the banking system rose from 7 to 12 per cent. Those reporting a tightening of borrowing conditions doubled, from 18.9 to 35.2 per cent.