The unemployment rate in Magallanes region, extreme south of Chile during the second quarter reached 4.9% which is more than double a year ago (2.2%). However it was down 1.4 percentage points from the previous quarter, making it Chile’s region with the lowest rate of jobless, according to the latest report from the country’s Statistics Office.
In practical terms this means that the number or unemployed in Magallanes reached 3.430, compared to 1.950 a year ago. Magallanes labour force increased 3.750 to 70.150 people over the same period a year ago.
Jose Gabriel Parada, head of the Magallanes branch of the Statistics Office said the big difference occurred with gender unemployment: while it remained almost unchanged for men (4.9%), it dropped from 8.5% to 4.8% for women.
Another factor in the jobs improvement scenery was the fact that manufacturing generated 650 additional jobs, particularly in the fish and crustaceans processing plants. The financial sector also absorbed another 1.890 people, mostly women employed by banks and other credit offices.
More specifically unemployment in Punta Arenas, Magallanes capital and main city, reached 5.1%; in Puerto Natales 7.9% (9% for men) and in Porvernir, 4.2% the lowest of any urban location in Chile.
Javier Solis the regional representative for the Ministry of Economy said that unemployment levels are lower than those when the Asian crisis of 1999 and 2000, and very similar to 2003, 04 and 05 considered “normal years” for the private sector.
“This must be underlined because Magallanes in spite of the crisis continues to attract labour from the rest of the country looking for job opportunities”, said Solis.
He also mentioned that the pro-jobs actions undertaken by the Chilean national and regional governments are beginning to show results.
Magallanes rate compares favourably with unemployment at national level which reached 10.7% in the second quarter, up from 10.2% in the previous three months March-May). The jobless rate in Chile in the second quarter of last year was 8.4%, according to the Statistics Office.