More than 300,000 thousand people protested Saturday March 12 in at least 11 major Portuguese cities. Tens of thousands had already responded to a national Facebook appeal to take part in this public demonstrations against the lack of jobs, poor wages and poor working conditions.
According to figures published by the National Statistics Institute (INE), based in Lisbon, the unemployment in the country climbed to a record 11.1% in the last quarter of 2010, with a total of 610,000 unemployed, representing 1.0 percentage point higher than the same period of 2009 and 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous quarter. The jobless rate for males increased to 10.1% from 9.6%, while that for females edged down to 12.3% from 12.4%.
Young people are most affected for whom unemployment rose to 22.4 percent in 2010. According to the INE figures, there are 95,400 people under the age of 25 out of work and unemployment for college graduates rose 16 percent last year, with 64,000 graduates looking for jobs. Immigrant workers in Portugal are also among those being hard hit by unemployment and some are seeking help to return to their homelands.