Summer jobs saving grace

Algarve stood out from the rest of Portugal in July when it registered a decrease in the number of individuals signed up at the job centres compared to the previous month of June and July 2012, revealed the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP).

The Algarve was the only region in the country to register positive results, having benefitted from the seasonal cycle that normally sees the creation of a large number of summer jobs directly connected to the tourism sector.

According to data from the IEFP, July recorded 25,928 unemployed individuals in the Algarve, representing a 6.9% and a 1.4% drop compared to June 2013 and July 2012, respectively.

The Algarve is enjoying a tourism boom this summer. According to information provided by the association of hotels and resorts of the Algarve, AHETA, the occupancy rate per room in July was 81.6%, meaning there was a 3.7% increase compared to the same month in 2012 (see Algarve Resident August 9 edition).

At the opposite end of the scenario are the Centre, North and Alentejo regions of Portugal. Although the national results reveal a slight slump in unemployment levels compared to the previous month (-0.3%), these three regions contradict the positive tendency.

The most serious case is the Alentejo where there was a 1.8% rise in the number of jobless, now accounting for 31,669 individuals. The North of Portugal saw a 0.9% increase, with unemployment affecting 289,905 of the population, followed by the Centre with 97,024 jobless.

A 5% increase in national unemployment compared to July 2012 removes some kudos from the Algarve results, with the Azores registering an 18.3% rise, followed by the Alentejo (7.9%) and the Centre (7.8%).

First-time job hunters

The IEFP data also shows an upsurge in the number of people searching for their first job. There are now 58,722 people in this situation, indicating a 17.5% and 2.9% hike compared to the same period in 2012 and June this year, respectively.

In terms of those who lost their job in the past year and are looking for work, a 4% increase was registered in July compared to 2012, but a 0.6% decrease was noted in relation to June.

These individuals account for 629,377 of the jobless population.

Long-term unemployment continues to be one of the main curses of the population, having recorded a 1.1% increase in July compared to June and a 27.1% rise compared to July 2012. Nearly half of the people signed up at job centres are affected by long-term unemployment (more than 12 months).

Portugal’s unemployment rate was down to 16.4% in the second quarter of the year, from 17.7% in the first quarter.