Unemployment in Portugal remained high in the first quarter, data released by Statistics Portugal showed Wednesday.
The agency said that starting the first quarter of 2011 it has adopted a new methodology for collection of employment data.
The jobless rate for the first quarter came in at 12.4 percent. In the fourth quarter, the unemployment rate was 11.1 percent, according to the previous methodology. In the same quarter last year, the jobless rate was 10.6 percent.
Unemployment among youth, aged between 15 and 24, was 27.8 percent during the first quarter.
The number of jobless persons in the first quarter totaled 688,900, while the number of employed came in at 4.87 million. The labor force participation rate was 52.2 percent in the first quarter.
Based on the previous methodology, the unemployment rate for the first quarter would have been 11.4 percent, the agency said. It is the highest figure since the series began in 1998. The number of unemployed would have been 633,300, while the figure of employed would be 4.945 million.
Portugal's unemployment has been increasing since the third quarter of 2008, except in the second quarter of 2010 when the rate was flat with the previous quarter.
This week European finance ministers approved a three-year joint European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout worth EUR 78 billion for Portugal. Figures released last week showed that the Portuguese economy slipped back into recession in the first quarter.
Gross domestic product declined 0.7 percent sequentially in the first quarter, faster than the revised 0.6 percent fall in the fourth quarter last year.