National economy and part-time work on the up

PRIME MINISTER José Sócrates hailed announcements that the economy had grown in the second quarter by 0.5 per cent. The growth rate was released by the national statistics institute last month.

“This is good news, which shows that some confidence in the Portuguese economy is returning,” Sócrates said.

Other statistics revealed that employment rates were higher than average for the rest of the Eurozone. According to Eurostat’s report on the European Union labour market in 2004, 67.8 per cent of the Portuguese working-age population was employed, whereas the average was 63.3 per cent in the Eurozone.

On the other side of the coin, Portugal is one of the EU countries with the highest rate of part-time contracts (20 per cent), whereas the European average stands at 14.3 per cent. Among the 55-64 age group, Portugal is also higher than the EU average with regard to numbers employed. According to the figures, 50.1 per cent in this age bracket are employed whereas the EU average is 41 per cent.

The EU country with the highest employment rate is Denmark (75.7 per cent).