Portugal’s Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest Since at Least 2011

Unemployment in Portugal dropped to the lowest level since at least 2011 as fewer industry and services workers were without a job.

The jobless rate fell to 10.8 percent in the second quarter from 12.4 percent in the first three months of the year, the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute said on its website. That’s the lowest since 2011 when the statistics office changed the methodology for its data series. It compares to a reading of 11.9 percent in the April-June period of 2015.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s minority Socialist government is reversing state salary cuts faster than the previous administration proposed, while increasing indirect taxes. It is also increasing the minimum wage and reducing the working week for state employees in an attempt to remove some measures introduced during the bailout program that ended in 2014.

The government forecasts the economy will grow 1.8 percent this year, and sees unemployment falling to 11.4 percent from 12.4 percent in 2015.

The number of jobless workers from industries including manufacturing, construction and energy slid 17 percent from the previous quarter, while unemployment in services declined 10.5 percent, according to the report. It dropped 15 percent in agriculture. The number of first-time job seekers fell 12 percent. Youth unemployment stood at 26.9 percent in the second quarter.

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