Portugal's unemployed numbers jump 36%

Reuters

Posted at Oct 20 2020 10:07 PM

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks at Comercio square, as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Lisbon, Portugal, June 26, 2020. Rafael Marchante, Reuters/File Photo

LISBON - The number of people registered as unemployed in Portugal jumped 36% in September from a year ago, with the tourism-dependent Algarve region suffering the hardest blow as the coronavirus wiped out thousands of seasonal jobs, data showed on Tuesday.

The total of those officially without a job rose to around 410,000 people, meaning more than 100,000 jobs have been lost across the nation since September 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 spiked 157% to 21,310 last month from a year ago.

The tourism industry contributed 14.6% to gross domestic product in 2018, according to the latest official data, and helped drive recovery from a severe debt crisis in 2010-14.

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.

Portugal, a nation of just over 10 million people, has recorded a comparatively low 101,860 cumulative coronavirus cases and 2,198 deaths. But, like in most European countries, the number of infections has risen again in recent weeks.

On Friday, Portugal hit 2,608 cases, the highest single-day figure since the pandemic started, although testing has also increased. A set of new, tougher measures to contain the disease came into force last week.