ROME: Italy’s underground economy dropped by 5 billion euros to 208 billion euros (about 246 billion U.S. dollars) or 12.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, Italian statistics agency ISTAT reported Wednesday.
This represented a drop of 0.5 percent of GDP compared to 2014. The decrease came after three years of steady growth of the underground or concealed economy from 2012 to 2014, according to an ISTAT report.
The underground economy is the sum of unreported income and off-the-books work and business activities, plus criminal enterprises such as drug trafficking, prostitution and tobacco smuggling, ISTAT said.
In 2015, Italy’s unreported economy generated added value of over 190 billion euros, while illegal activities generated about 17 billion euros, according to the report.
Undeclared income made up 44.9 percent of the concealed economy, while off-the-books employment made up 37.3 percent, unreported real estate rentals and undeclared tips made up 9.6 percent, and illegal activities made up 8.2 percent, ISTAT said in reference to 2015.
Undeclared income was highest in the professional services sector (16.2 percent), in trade, transportation, hotels and restaurants (12.8 percent), and construction (12.3 percent).
The highest rate of off-the-books employment was found in domestic work (47.6 percent), farming (17.9 percent), construction (16.9 percent) and in trade, transportation, food and lodging (16.7 percent), said the report.