Portugal second-quarter figures show employed at all-time high

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Portugal’s unemployment rate fell in the second quarter and the employed population reached an all-time high, as companies hired staff following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

The National Statistics Institute (INE) said the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in the April-June period of 2021, down 0.4 percentage points from the prior three-month period, up 1.0 point from a year earlier and up 0.3 points from two years ago.

The employed population increased 2.8% from the previous quarter to 4.8 million, 4.5% more than a year ago and 0.8% more than two years ago.

“The results are impressive. The employed population in Portugal in this period is an all-time high and has even exceeded the figures for the second quarter of 2019,” economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira said in a statement.

The services sector, the most affected by the pandemic, has created 100,000 new jobs, including 25,000 in accommodation, restaurants and similar businesses.

Portugal started to ease COVID-19 restrictions from mid-March after a lockdown in January to tackle what was then the world’s worst coronavirus surge. Most businesses have reopened.

“The capacity to create jobs is a sign of the economy’s vitality. New companies, growing ones or companies that resume business are those that hire people because they know they will have clients,” Siza Vieira added.

The country’s economy expanded 4.9% in the second quarter from the preceding three months, driven by domestic demand and exports. GDP grew 15.5% year-on-year in the quarter.

Before the pandemic hit, the tourism sector represented around 15% of GDP.

Portugal’s socialist government sees the unemployment rate at 7.3% at the end of 2021 and economic growth at 4%. Siza Vieira has previously said economic growth would probably be closer to 5%.

INE said the share of the employed population that has worked remotely because of COVID-19 restrictions was 14.9%, or 717,000 people.

Once you're here...