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Thursday May 17, 2012

Portugal jobless rate hits high

LISBON: Portugal's unemployment rate jumped to a record high in the early part of this year even as the recession eased, showing the uphill struggle the country faces to nurse its way back to economic health while running a harsh austerity programme.

The jobless rate rose to 14.9% from 14% in the fourth quarter, the National Statistics Institute said yesterday.

Youth unemployment also rose further, to 36.2% from 35.4%, though is still below the 50% levels seen in Greece and Spain.

GDP data released on Tuesday showed the economy contracted by just 0.1% in the first quarter, below expectations of a slump of 0.7%.

“The (jobless) figures show that, despite the smaller than expected contraction in first quarter gross domestic product, economic conditions remain extremely challenging,” said Diego Iscaro, economist at IHS Global Insight. Reuters

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