Portugal’s unemployment rate reached 10.9% in the third quarter of the year, and over 600,000 Portuguese are now unemployed, a record high, according to data released on Wednesday by the National Statistics Agency (INE).
The unemployment rate, as measured by INE, grew by 0.3 percentage points over the second quarter of 2010. In the third quarter of 2009, the rate was 9.8%.
Also according to the data, the total number of unemployed in the third quarter of 2010 was 609,400, the highest figure ever registered by INE.
In a related story, Portuguese Minister of Labour and Welfare has this week called on Brussels to have “more objectivity” when commenting on the “rigidity” of Portugal’s labour market.
Minister Helena André was replying to comments by Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker, who said on Tuesday that the Portuguese government should “detail” its economic reforms, adding that Portugal must “boost its potential growth and competitiveness, emphasizing the suppression of labour market rigidity”.
Helena André replied that there is “work to be done” on Portuguese labour legislation, but rebuffed Juncker’s suggestions.
“It would be interesting if Brussels was more objective in its statements about the Portuguese labour market, since we recently reviewed our labour laws”, André said.
“Out of all OECD countries, we have made the greatest strides against rigidity in recent years, we’re a little better than Germany, and it’s baffling to hear comments about our market rigidity.” TPN/Lusa