Venezuelan Inflation Continues to Drop While Unemployment Remains Steady

  Venezuela's accumulated inflation during the first six months of this year was 10.8%, a significant decrease from the 15.1% accumulated inflation during the first six months of last year. The unemployment rate remained constant at 7.7%.

By James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis.com
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Mérida, July 8th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuela's accumulated inflation during the first six months of this year was 10.8%, a significant decrease from the 15.1% accumulated inflation during the first six months of last year, according to Venezuela's National Statistics Institute (INE) and the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV). Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained constant at 7.7%.

Accumulated inflation in food prices was 4.5% during the first half of the year. This is significantly lower than the 19.3% accumulated inflation in food prices during the first half of 2008. Meanwhile, health care and transportation costs have inflated slightly more in the first half of this year than they did in the first half of 2008.

Accumulated inflation in the first half of the year was greatest in the city of Merida, with 13.1%, topping Caracas's 12.4%. The city with the lowest accumulated inflation in the first half of this year was Barquisimeto with 10.2%.

Over the past twelve months, accumulated inflation in Venezuela was 26%.

Monthly inflation in June was 1.8%, down from 2% in May and 2.4% in June 2008. It decreased in seven of the thirteen price categories, including transportation, home furnishing, restaurants and hotels, utilities, health care, and other services. It increased in alcoholic beverages and tobacco, food and beverages, and clothing, and remained constant in rent, communications, and educational services.

Monthly inflation in June also decreased in seven of the eleven geographical divisions studied by the BCV and INE, and remained constant in Caracas.

Venezuela's economic growth slowed to 0.3% in the first trimester of this year. Venezuela has experienced more than twenty trimesters of consecutive economic growth, and per capita GDP growth averaged nearly 7% per year between 2004 and 2008, according to the BCV.

Unemployment

Venezuela's unemployment rate remained constant at 7.7% in April and May of this year, representing 998.920 unemployed people. Unemployment in May was 7% among men, and 8.9% among women.

From January to May of this year, the average unemployment rate in Venezuela was 7.9%. Last year, unemployment averaged 7.4%, with a high of 10.2% in January and a low of 6.1% in November.

Between May 2008 and May 2009, the total employed population in Venezuela grew by more than 180,000 workers, while the percentage of the population employed in the formal sector of the economy declined from 56.3% to 55.1%.

Venezuela's unemployment rate has been cut nearly in half since President Hugo Chavez took office in 1999. In May 1999, the unemployment rate in Venezuela was 14.6%.