Unemployment shoots up in Portugal, up 22.1 percent in April

The number of unemployed people in Portugal recorded an increase of 22.1 percent in April compared to the same month last year, the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP) announced on Wednesday.

The figure of unemployed in April was 14.1 percent higher than in March, which meant 48,562 more people were without work.

According to IEFP, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of unemployed has increased by 76,761 people.

Economic activity registered a “strong contraction” in April, and the indicators of economic climate and consumer confidence dropped to the minimum levels of the last seven years.

The IEFP indicated that the effects of social isolation and paralysis of the economy have affected all sectors of professional activities, and the groups most affected were “women, adults aged 25 years and over, those looking for a new job and those with secondary school education.”

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa suggested on Wednesday that the lay-off regime can be extended if necessary.

“If there is financial availability, and the government will know, it is worth considering extending the ‘lay-off’,” he said.

“There are hundreds of thousands of workers who have not gone into unemployment and are waiting to follow the resumption of economic activity,” said the president.

Portugal’s social security agency has so far validated 90,000 requests from companies to join the lay-off, covering 735,000 workers.

Portugal recorded 1,263 deaths associated with COVID-19 in 29,660 confirmed cases of infection, including 16 new deaths and 228 new cases of infection in the last 24 hours, health authorities said on Wednesday.