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Has the number of people enrolled in the job center really dropped?

What happened to the number of people enrolled in the job center? Is it camouflaged? Learn what is at the root of this situation

The number of people registered at the job center fell 14.2% year-on-year in November 2022, to 296,723 people - the best performance in the month of November since records began.

However, there was also an increase in the number of unemployed registered with the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP) between October and November, corresponding to 2.6%.

This means that, for 4 consecutive months, registered unemployment has not stopped rising. However, in comparison with the same month last year, the reduction was 14.2% - that is, 49,161 fewer people registered at job centers throughout the country.

Is the number of people registered at the job center 100% true?

The truth is that when we read the news and see a drop in the number of people registered at the job center, we automatically think that more and more people are finding jobs in Portugal. But is this really the case?

In fact, if we look at the months between October 2021 and August 2022, we realize that employment has increased (with an increase of 214.3 thousand). However, in September 2022, it was possible to see a reduction in it.

This data allows us to reflect a lot and come to some conclusions: are these low-quality, low-wage jobs? Trying to increase employment in Portugal in this way does not seem to solve our country's problem. But there are more questions to be asked.

Are there hidden numbers?

When talking about the number of people registered at the job center, there are still other aspects that we must consider to understand if the data presented is really true.

In Portugal, there are two official entities that publish statistics about unemployment: the National Statistics Institute (INE) and the IEFP. The latter releases monthly data on registered employment, which includes:

  • All those who are receiving unemployment benefits

  • Those looking for their first job

  • Those looking for a job

Now, looking at this scenario we have to think about the unemployed who do not register and are therefore not considered at all.

Moreover, when we look closely at the number of unemployed registered every month in the job centers, we realize that the number is always higher than the one that is presented by the entities and that it has been "dropping".

A good example is what happened between November 2021 and October 2022: where 497,353 unemployed people were registered, and the job centers only found work for 91,229 people.

Which means that 405,424 unemployed people did not find jobs. And if we add this number to the unemployed who existed at the end of October 2021 (351,667), we get 757,091 people.

Therefore, when the IEFP and also the Government divulged that in the job centers only 289,125 people were registered in October 2022, it seems that the data disappeared or were camouflaged. Because in truth, 467,966 unemployed people disappeared, almost as if by magic.

There are more inactive people than employed people

Did you know that in Portugal for every 100 people who are working there are almost 107 who are neither working nor registered as unemployed?

In fact, our country still has more inactive people than employed people. And by inactive people we mean those who don't have a job, but also aren't registered as unemployed with the IEFP.

The proof of this is precisely in the INE data that show that in 2021 there would be 106.6 inactive people for every 100 employed people. That is, before 4.8 million employed people, a total of 5.1 million inactive people.

However, the figures in the Regional Statistical Yearbooks reveal that there were more people in this situation. After all, in 2020 there were 112.2 thousand inactive people for every 100 employed people.

In terms of regions, the Alentejo has the highest rate of inactive population: 111.7 thousand per 100 employees, followed by the Azores and Lisbon (with 111.5 thousand) and the Center (107.9).

The North has 101.2 thousand inactive people, followed by the Algarve with 105.1 and Madeira with 104.9 - these being the regions with the lowest numbers.

As we can see, it is essential to pay attention not only to the numbers published in relation to the rates of unemployed people registered at job centers, but also to consider the employment rates.

What we mean is that it is essential to compare the data, always calculating the rate of employed and unemployed people. In addition to this, we must also take into consideration the inactive population rate, which can also camouflage a lot of the numbers presented on a monthly basis.


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