The unemployment rate climbed to 6.8% in the first quarter from 6.7% in the fourth quarter. It fell from 7.9% in the first quarter of 2018, the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute said on its website.
Tourism has boosted the Portuguese economy, which in 2017 posted its strongest growth since 2000. That’s helped the country’s minority Socialist administration, which faces a general election in October, to lower the jobless rate and manage the budget deficit. The Bank of Portugal forecasts growth will slow to 1.7% this year.
Portugal’s output growth has been chiefly due to employment growth rather than increased productivity, the country’s central bank said in a statement.
The economy expanded for a fifth consecutive year in 2018.
The number of jobless workers from services businesses rose 2% in the first quarter from the previous quarter, while those from industries including manufacturing, construction and energy increased 7.8%.
The number of people seeking their first job dropped 21%.
Youth unemployment fell to 17.6% in the first quarter.