Italian youth unemployment has hit a new record high of 43.3% in April, according to official figures.

The National Institute for Statistics (Istat) also revealed that the embattled country's total jobless rate was unchanged from March at 12.6%.

The research body explained that the unemployment rate for 15 to 24 year olds climbed by 0.4% to 43.3% in April.

The data means 22.2 million people were employed in Italy over the same period.

The figures will be a blow Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who has pledged to fight the country's high levels of unemployment.

Italy's jobless rate is higher than the Eurozone average of 11.7% in April and much high than the UK's rate of 6.8%, which was recorded in March.

Renzi has proposed a controversial "Jobs Act" to tackle the country's job market crisis.

The proposed legalisation aims to reform Italy's welfare system by improving job agencies and extending short-term job contracts, among other things.

Renzi was recently bolstered by a victory at the European Union (EU) Parliamentary Elections, where his Democratic Party (PD) won 40% of the vote – bucking the trend of the European electorate voting for anti-EU parties in the polls.