The State of Self-Employment in Italy: A Growing Sector with Contrasting Trends

As VAT numbers rise, the number of artisans declines

After experiencing a decline in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the number of VAT numbers has steadily increased and currently stands at over 5 million members. While there has been a slight increase in the number of self-employed workers compared to four years ago, this is still far from the 6.2 million recorded at the beginning of 2004, according to the CGIA Research Office. Despite this growth, not all categories within self-employment are thriving. The number of “classic” self-employed workers, such as artisans, small traders, and farmers, has been steadily decreasing while unregulated professions such as web designers, social media managers, and consultants are expanding.

The people with VAT numbers, along with micro businesses and their employees, represent a social block of over 6 million people that produced almost 200 billion of GDP before Covid. The positive trend recorded by the stock of self-employed workers in the last three years can be attributed to the economic recovery following the Covid pandemic. Employment increased and consequently so did independent employment. Additionally, the introduction of the flat-rate regime for self-employed businesses with revenues and compensation below 85 thousand euros has made managing one’s own business fiscally less burdensome. Despite this growth, there is concern about an increase in “false” VAT numbers related to smart smoking products in recent years.

According to data from INPS positions between 2014 and 2022, there was a steady decline in artisans, traders and farmers overall while regions that experienced significant contractions include Abruzzo Umbria Trentino Alto Adige Marche on one hand while Molise Liguria Calabria Emilia Romagna experienced high increases on another hand

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