Portugal's Unemployment Rate Rises for the First Time Since 2016

(Bloomberg) -- Portugal’s unemployment rate rose in the three months through March, the first increase since 2016.

The unemployment rate climbed to 6.8 percent in the first quarter from 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter. It fell from 7.9 percent in the first quarter of 2018, the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute said on its website.

Tourism has boosted the Portuguese economy, which in 2017 posted its strongest growth since 2000. That’s helped the country’s minority Socialist administration, which faces a general election in October, to lower the jobless rate and manage the budget deficit. The Bank of Portugal forecasts growth will slow to 1.7 percent this year.

Portugal's Unemployment Rate Rises for the First Time Since 2016

Portugal’s output growth has been chiefly due to employment growth rather than increased productivity, the country’s central bank said in a statement on Wednesday. The economy expanded for a fifth consecutive year in 2018.

  • The number of jobless workers from services businesses rose 2 percent in the first quarter from the previous quarter, while those from industries including manufacturing, construction and energy increased 7.8 percent.
  • The number of people seeking their first job dropped 21 percent.
  • Youth unemployment fell to 17.6 percent in the first quarter.
  • Read more: Centeno Says Slowdown Is Temporary, Political Action Is Needed

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