Magallanes in the extreme south of Chile remained as the region with the lowest unemployment, 2.6% during the September-November quarter, according to the latest release from the National Statistics Institute.
The three main cities in the region also recorded the best employment performance with the unemployment index showing Porvenir with 1.2%; Punta Arenas 2.9% and Puerto Natales, 3.9%. This compares favorably with the national average for Chile which stands at 7.3% with the region worst hit, Maule showing 9.4%. Magallanes rate dropped 2.1percentage points compared to the same quarter a year ago and one percentage point less than the previous quarter. The 2.6% figure is made up of 1.9% hard core unemployment and 0.7% of first time job seekers. The work force in the September-November quarter totaled 64.280 people, which are 2.080 less than a year ago. Those with jobs were 62.620 and the unemployed 1.660. Outside the labor force remain 56.020 people which is 2.1% (1.130) more than the same period a year ago. At national level unemployment in Chile dropped 0.4% compared to the previous quarter and jumped 0.7% over the same period a year ago. According to INE the push can be attributed to the increase of the labor force in the last twelve months, 2.7%, the highest since Sept-Nov 2005. However unemployment remains a sensitive issue for most Chileans according to the think-tank Libertad y Desarrollo. In spite of a slight drop in the fear of loosing a job, from 38% in September, to 34%, the percentage is still high and is similar to the percentage of December 2006. The public opinion poll from Libertad y Desarrollo shows that 36% of interviews indicated they were unemployed or had a member of the family in that condition. This is one percentage point less than in September, (37%), and 3% less than December 2006.