Venezuelan Unemployment Continues to Drop in February

Caracas April 9, 2008 ( – Venezuela's unemployment rate fell to 7.6% in February, Planning and Development Minister Haiman El Troudi announced Tuesday.

This shows a reduction of 3.3 percentage points from 10.9% in February 2007 according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE) and a reduction of 2.6 percentage points from 10.2% in January this year.

El Troudi said the reduced unemployment rate was structural and predicted a sustained decrease. The aim is to reach 5.5% unemployment by the end of 2008, and ultimately to reach "full employment, and quality employment, not just any employment," he added.

Minister El Troudi said the INE report for February shows that 43.7% of Venezuelan workers remain in the informal sector, while 56.3% are employed in the formal sector, an increase of 0.3% compared to last year.

In 1999 Venezuela's unemployment rate was 16.6%, three years later during an industry lockout, aimed at overthrowing the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, unemployment soared to 20.7%, but has decreased progressively since then.

A statement by Venezuela's Communication and Information Ministry stressed that the continued decrease in unemployment and improved economic indicators in the first quarter of 2008 was a reflection of the correct and effective economic measures adopted by the Bolivarian government.