Portuguese Unemployment Rate Rises for a Second Quarter to 13.7%

Portugal’s unemployment rate rose for a second quarter in the three months through March as the number of jobless from services businesses increased.

The unemployment rate climbed to 13.7 percent from 13.5 percent in the fourth quarter, and fell from 15.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014, the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute said on its website.

The number of jobless workers in services climbed 5.2 percent while the unemployed from agriculture, forestry and fishing increased 41.4 percent. Youth unemployment was at 34.4 percent in the first quarter.

While Portugal emerged from recession in 2013, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho still has to cut spending to meet budget targets and the government forecasts exports and investment will help drive growth this year. Portugal in May 2014 exited a three-year bailout program from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, and Coelho faces elections in September or October.

The government on April 16 raised its growth forecast for 2015 and said it sees the economy accelerating in the following two years. Gross domestic product will expand 1.6 percent this year, more than a previous estimate for 1.5 percent growth. The economy grew 0.9 percent in 2014, after contracting in the previous three years. Unemployment is forecast to fall to 13.2 percent in 2015 from 13.9 percent in 2014.