Industrial production in Italy had its worst quarterly result since the 1940s, falling 21.6 percent for the second quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2019, the industrial association Confindustria said on Thursday.
Much of the country’s industrial production halted during the national coronavirus lockdown that entered into force in March. The lockdown rules only allowed companies deemed “essential” to the country’s anti-coronavirus strategies to continue operations.
Lockdown rules were eased starting in May, but the economy is still struggling.
In the first quarter of the year, industrial production was 8.4 percent below the production level in the same period in 2019. But that quarter included more than two months before the start of the lockdown.
The second quarter of the year included April and May, both of which saw limited industrial activity.
In June, industrial production was 18.9 percent below the level of the year-ago period, easily the strongest month of the quarter and a sign of modest recovery.
Most economists predict an economic rebound, including industrial production, in the second half of this year, unless coronavirus infection rates start to rise again. But Confindustria said a recovery could be tempered by the still-strong coronavirus outbreak in the United States and in South America, which slows Italy’s export sector.
According to media reports, the 21.6-percent fall in industrial production was the biggest quarterly drop in production since the final months of World War II, when the country’s economy collapsed.
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