Italy's unemployment rate edged down to 7.8% in October from 7.9% in September, data showed on Thursday, as some 82,000 jobs were created in the month, defying other signs of a slowing economy. A Reuters survey of nine analysts had forecast a rise in the jobless rate to 8.0%. In the three months to October, employment in the euro zone's third largest economy was "broadly stable" from the May-to-July period, national statistics bureau ISTAT said.

The October jobless rate of 7.8% followed three months of stability at 7.9% and was the lowest figure since April 2020. Compared with October 2021, employment was up by 496,000 or 2.2%, it said. In October the youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, declined to 23.9% from 24.1% the month before. Italy's overall employment rate, one of the lowest in the euro zone, climbed in October to 60.5% from 60.3% in September to hit its highest level since the start of ISTAT's current statistical series in 1977. Despite October's encouraging jobs report, Italy's economic prospects have generally dimmed, like those of most European countries, due to the fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The economy grew by a stronger-than-expected 0.5% in the third quarter from the previous three months, data showed on Wednesday, but is now slowing down sharply as firms and households grapple with surging energy costs.

The Italian Treasury forecasts that gross domestic product will decline in the current quarter and also in the first quarter of next year. ISTAT gave the following data: OCT SEPT AUG JULY JOBLESS RATE 7.8 7.9 7.9 7.9r YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (15-24) 23.9 24.1r 22.9r 23.6r EMPLOYMENT RATE (15-64) 60.5 60.3r 60.1r 60.2 (Reporting By Gavin Jones)