Italy’s long-term sovereign credit rating has been trimmed by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P), which announced the news on Tuesday.

Italy fell to BBB, from its previous status of BBB+, with the outlook for future prospects remaining negative, said the influential credit agency.

Weak economic growth averaging -0.4 percent over the past decade was one factor, made worse by an inflexible labor market, said S&P.

Notably, this year has seen worse economic output and GDP than 2007 by certain comparisons, said the agency. The weak economic growth could damage Italy’s economic structures and resilience even further, it said.

Italy’s heavy debt burden, forecast at 129 percent of GDP by the end of 2013, is among the highest debt loads for all the countries S&P rates.

S&P also said there’s at least a one in three chance that the country’s rating could be lowered again in 2013 or 2014. The country’s short-term credit rating remained unchanged.

Fitch Ratings, Inc. also downgraded Italy to BBB+ in March, though that status remains slightly better than S&P’s latest assessment.