ROME, March 1 (UPI) -- New Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says he's shocked by Italy's high unemployment and that he is working on his promised Jobs Act.
Nearly 1 million jobs have been lost in Italy between 2008 and 2013, the ANSA news agency reported.
"Unemployment is at 12.9 percent. Shocking numbers, the highest for 35 years," Renzi tweeted Friday. "That's why the first measure will be the Jobs Act."
The Jobs Act, which Renzi proposed last month before he became prime minister, is aimed at simplifying Italy's labor system, including eliminating parts of Italy's work contracts and lay-off benefits.
Under the current system, employers are reluctant to hire new employees with regular contracts, as opposed to temporary contracts or other forms of freelance employment, because it is difficult to dismiss workers once they are on the books. This means many young workers have few rights and little job security.
Renzi said the Jobs Act would be completed before a bilateral summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next month.