Unemployment in Magallanes region, extreme south of Chile reached 5.3% during the last quarter of last year which represents an improvement over the previous quarter, 6.6%, but is double over the same period a year ago when it stood at 2.8%.
According to the latest release from the Chilean Statistics Office, 5.3% means that 3.850 people in the Magallanes region are out of a job, while a year ago the number was 1.830, which must be said was a twelve year record low.
Retail, financial services, agriculture, fisheries and construction helped lower the last quarter index by creating a considerable number of jobs, representing a 1.3 percentage poitn fall from the third quarter rate of 6.6%.
Jose Parada Chilean Statistics Office representative in Magallanes, said that during 2007 and 2008 there was a strong demand for labour in the region, mainly in manufacturing and construction, which attracted manpower from other regions of the country.
This is particularly evident, said Pereda when “we consider that in the last twelve months the labour force in Magallanes increased 13% (8.550 people) while the number of people occupied in the period increased 10.4% (6.350).
Punta Arenas, the capital and main city of the sparsely inhabited region had unemployment of 5.5% in the last quarter of 2009, which was 1.7 percentage points less than the previous quarter but was up 3.4 percentage points over the same period a year ago: last quarter of 2008.
The region’s two other main locations Natales and Porvenir are going through a bad moment. In Natales unemployment soared from 5.8% to 10% fourth quarter to fourth quarter mainly because of a poor showing of tourism the main industry.
In Porvenir the rate went from 4.2% in the last quarter of 2008 to 9% in the same period of 2009, direct consequence of the sanitary problems faced by the salmon industry which forced the closure of farms.
At national level Chilean unemployment in the last quarter of 2009 was 8.6%, down from 9.1% in the previous quarter, and up 1.1 percentage point from a year ago.
INE said that during 2009 employment in Chile was down 0.7 percentage points averaging 9.7% compared to 7.8% in 2008