Portugal’s unemployment hit a record level of 14% in the final quarter of last year, according to figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) reported by LUSA.
Around 50,700 men and 30,600 women lost their jobs in the final quarter of last year. The new record represents a total of 770,000 people out of Portugal’s active population of 5.5 million, which has shrunk by 0.7%. The total population is estimated at 10.6 million (2011).
The new unemployment figures contrasts with the average annual unemployment rate of 12.7% in 2011 and the 2000 unemployment rate of 3.9%.
Youth unemployment, those looking for work, ages between 15 and 24, stood at a 35.4% at the end of 2011, representing 156,000 individuals.
To address the problem, teams of European specialists is expected in Portugal in the near future. The so-called “action teams” will be visiting eight European countries with high youth unemployment rates.
The region worst hit by unemployment is the Algarve where 17.5% of the active population was looking for a job while the Centre region turned in the ‘best’ performance with an unemployment rate of 12.6%.
The government had forecast for the average annual unemployment rate for 2012 would be at 13.7%.
Unemployment rate in Portugal is the fourth highest in the European Union (EU), behind Spain, Ireland and Greece according to figures released by Eurostat Thursday.
Also, according to the INE, Portugal’s economic climate and consumer confidence indicators have sank to their most pessimistic levels ever last month.
The INE revealed that the economic climate indicators in January, calculated through polls in the various business sectors, fell to negative 4.7, continuing their steady decline since October 2010, their worst showing ever, said the INE.