The second quarter of 2013 marked the eighth consecutive three-month period in which the Italian economic output contracted, the national statistics institute Istat said on Tuesday. Italy\'s gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.2 percent from April to June compared to the first quarter, and 2 percent compared to the same period of last year. Though the country\'s economic output shrank 1.7 percent in the first half of 2013, exceeding government expectations of a 1.3-percent drop, the institute\'s figures also showed some indicators of slow recovery. Industrial production increased 0.3 percent in June month-on-month after registering a 0.1-percent progress in May over April, while June automotive industrial production rose 7.4 percent. According to Italy\'s Labor Minister Enrico Giovannini, these were the latest in a series of small but positive signs about the Italian economy in recent days, showing that the recession-hit economy would show positive growth in the second half of this year. Though \"all indicators point that the second quarter still has a negative short-term growth of GDP, there are signs of confidence\" for the \"third and fourth quarters\" of this year, Giovannini said in an interview with Rai state radio on Tuesday. \"Households\' optimism, business confidence and orders in domestic market have all increased, pointing that the desire to overcome the recession is becoming more concrete,\" he said. The minister\'s remarks followed an unexpected uptick in the July consumer confidence index, which rose to 97.3 compared to 95.8 in June, the highest level in more than a year.