- Unemployment rate of 3.74% was lower than any analyst estimate
- Job growth has been bolstering consumer spending, economy
Mexico’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest in almost eight years in March, the latest sign of stronger growth in Latin America’s second-largest economy.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.74 percent in non-seasonally adjusted terms, according to a report published Wednesday by the nation’s statistics agency, known as Inegi. That was below the 3.9 percent median estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Consumer spending, fueled by job growth and rising remittances, is helping support growth amid weakness in sales of manufactured goods to the U.S. and tumbling oil exports that spurred the government to cut public spending. A report Tuesday showed the economy grew 4.1 percent in February from the year earlier, the fastest pace in almost three years.
"The labor market continues to support consumption, not only through less unemployment, but also through real wage increases resulting from inflation still below 3 percent," Carlos Capistran, chief Mexico economist at Bank of America, said in an e-mailed response to questions.
The peso was little changed at 17.3669 per U.S. dollar at 8:20 a.m. in Mexico City. Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB, the nation’s biggest retailer, climbed 5.6 percent after reporting first quarter adjusted net income that topped analysts forecasts.
Getting a complete picture on Mexico’s employment situation is complicated by the tens of millions of people who work in the informal economy.