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More people find work in Portugal

tractorplougingThe employment rate in the eurozone is creeping up, but at the slowest pace.

The rate in the region rose by 0.1% in first quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter.

The annual rate, ie when comparing the rate to the same period in 2014, was fractionally better at 0.8%.

It was good news for Spain and Portugal. Spain’s increase of nearly 3% in the year will be a welcome relief to the country whose economy at last appears to be on the mend. It was the most positive result in the euro area.

Portugal too fared well. Here employment increased by 1.4%.

Both were well above the eurozone average.

All the eurozone countries reported some level of annual increase, with the exceptions of France, Cyprus, Finland and Latvia where employment levels were stable. There were no falling rates.

However, struggling Italy saw a mere 0.3% annual rise and beleaguered Greece but a 0.7% annual rise which was on par with Germany.

The annual increase in the UK was nearly 2%.

Eurostat estimates there are now 150 million people in the eurozone who have jobs.

In the Algarve, the number of registered unemployed in employment centers halved in May compared with the same month in 2013.

Two years ago, there were 40,000 registered unemployed, but now there are 20,000 according to Jorge Gaspar, president of the Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional.

Gaspar said that these figures are not just due to seasonality and that the fall in unemployment is a "trend, not only, but also in the Algarve - this is steady and is not a one-off."

The official said that the decline is unemployment is due to "the ability of companies and the Algarve economy to create jobs."

The President of the IEFP says he is sure "that Algarve companies will continue to invest and thus continue to create jobs in the future” so that he will not have to release more obviously massaged figures in the pre-election period.

In response to the data, António Goulart, coordinator of the Algarve Trade Unions Union, said the claims were “an absurdity” when he had stopped laughing.

Goulart accuses the government of "manipulating data and information” at a time when elections are approaching.

António Goulart said the decline in unemployment can be justified by two factors: "One is emigration. Some thousands of Algarve have gone to another country in search of employment because here there is none. Secondly, it is known the range tricks the Government uses in order to reduce the unemployed figures. Internships or job-insertion contracts artificially reduce the number of unemployed.”

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