World: The Economy: A Stained Ledger

"Non si tocca—il posto di lavoro!"

(Keep your hands off—my job!) That chant by demonstrators protesting dismissals by Montedison, Italy's giant chemical company, rang out ominously last week—a part of a Greek chorus that increasingly laments an economy gone sour. A glance at Italy's stained ledger:

> Unemployment stands at 7.4%, or 1.7 million out of a labor force of 23 million. Of the unemployed, more than 1 million are young. Parliament allocated $1.2 billion last year to provide between 500,000 and 600,000 jobs for unemployed youth, but the effort was an almost complete failure. Though 650,000 people signed up, there have been...

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