20/03/2017 | Print Edition
One-percentage point drop on last quarter, but critics point to shrinking labour market as cause
Unemployment fell to 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, the INDEC national statistics bureau announced yesterday, a one-percentage point drop from the previous quarter.
The fall in the headline statistic — which may buy President Mauricio Macri’s administration some breathing-room — came as a response to the numbers of people looking for work falling, analysts warned.
Nonetheless, the Let’s Change government will welcome the news, which comes on the back of union unrest, a rise in poverty and a string of negative economic indicators over the past 12 months, with only months to go before crucial mid-term legislative elections. The drop in the unemployment rate will be a positive piece of economic news that ministers will be able to point to on the campaign trail.
The decrease in unemployment is the second consecutive fall in unemployment registered since the INDEC began re-publishing their quarterly economic indicators last August. The bureau was widely believed to have manipulated economic data during the previous administration of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
After taking office, the Let’s Change administration temporarily suspended the state run-statistics agency, as they redesigned its statistics-gathering measures after the years of disputed numbers between 2007-2015.
Despite the reported decrease in unemployment yesterday, representatives from INDEC — which is led by Jorge Todesca —stressed that weren’t any significant changes in the country’s labour market.