Italy's youth unemployment rate reached 42.7 percent in 2014, up 2.7 percent from 2013 and more than double its pre-crisis levels in 2007, the Paris-based OECD said Thursday in its employment outlook.
More than one in four persons aged 29 or under in Italy is neither in employment nor in education (NEET), the think-tank reported.
"The NEET rate has soared by 40 percent since the onset of the crisis, opening a wide gap with the OECD average (14 percent)," it said.
Italy's NEET rate is only marginally lower than Greece's (27 percent) and slightly higher than Spain's (21 percent), OECD noted.
"The high and persistent youth joblessness level also remains a major concern," the OECD said.
Youth unemployment remains above 2007 levels in nearly all of the OECD's 34 industrialised and emerging country members, it said.
OECD said it had found evidence that a person’s long-term career prospects are largely determined in the first ten years of working life.
"This suggests that many of the youth who finished school during the crisis and have struggled to find work since may find their future career opportunities limited," it said.
OECD called for "effective and efficient labour market institutions and policies" to improve young people's employability in decent jobs in Italy and elsewhere.
It forecast Italy's chronically low growth would remain "timid" for the next 18 months, rising 0.6 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2015, "in both cases below the growth forecast for the eurozone and the OECD as a whole".