Portugal’s year-on-year jobless numbers jump 34% in October

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LISBON, Nov 19 (Reuters) – The number of people registered as unemployed in Portugal was 34.5% higher in October from a year ago due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with the tourism-dependent Algarve region suffering the hardest blow, official data showed on Thursday.

The total of those officially without a job rose to 403,554 people, meaning more than 100,000 jobs have been lost across the nation since October 2019, the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training said.

In the southern Algarve, famous for its beaches and golf courses, the number of registered jobless rose 134% to 24,088 last month from a year ago.

Though the year-on-year figures showed a huge jump, the number of those registered as jobless fell 1.6% in Portugal as a whole in October compared to the previous month.

Around 72% of the newly unemployed worked in the services sector including restaurants and retail stores, now open but that were shut during a six-week lockdown earlier this year.

The government expects the unemployment rate, which had gradually fallen to record lows during the recovery, to rise to 8.7% this year due to the pandemic, but experts say the actual jobless level would be much higher as the official rate does not include those who stopped looking for jobs.

The coronavirus outbreak, so far numbering 235,015 confirmed cases and 3,632 deaths, is set to hammer Portugal’s economy. The government expects gross domestic product to contract by 8.5% this year, which would be the worst slump in almost a century. (Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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