Unemployment up, exports down – but president stresses: “It isn’t time for alarmism”

With national statistics institute INE revealing less than positive data, the bottom line is that Portugal’s unemployment situation worsened in the first three months of 2016, while exports dipped by 2%.

But in the latter case at least, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has stressed that it isn’t down to politics.

Talking at a conference on agriculture in Lisbon yesterday, Marcelo agreed it was a “moment for concern, but not one for alarmism.

“Happily, we cannot say (the drop in exports) comes from instability or globally flawed politics, because there is growth in European exports”, he explained, adding that is the problems in economies outside Europe that are conditioning Portuguese exports.

But Marcelo did not refer to the increase in unemployment – by an estimated 0.2% on figures for the end of 2015 – to 12-4%.

The new data suggests 640,200 people are out of work in the country – though long-term unemployment figures have dropped slightly, and for the first time for years youth unemployment (the 15-24-year-old age bracket) has also reduced.

Stressing INE’s figures for now are only estimates, noticiasaominuto say these would seem to reflect “negative indications on the national economy”.

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