Portugal’s Unemployment Rate Rose to 14.9% in the First Quarter

Portugal’s jobless rate rose to 14.9 percent in the three months through March as the country’s economy contracted for a sixth quarter.

The unemployment rate increased from 14 percent in the fourth quarter and 12.4 percent in the first quarter of 2011, the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute said today in an e-mailed statement.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho is facing a recession as he cuts spending and increases taxes to meet the terms of a 78 billion-euro ($99 billion) aid plan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. As the country’s borrowing costs surged, Portugal last year followed Greece and Ireland in seeking a bailout.

For all of 2012, the government forecasts unemployment will rise to 14.5 percent before declining to 14.1 percent in 2013.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joao Lima in Lisbon at jlima1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Quinson at tquinson@bloomberg.net

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