30 January 2009

Chile Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 7.5% in December (Update1)

By Nathan Gill
     Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Chile’s unemployment rate was unchanged for a third straight month in December at 7.5 percent, the National Statistics Institute said.
     The rate reported today was higher than the 7.3 percent median estimate of 12 economists in a Bloomberg survey.
     President Michelle Bachelet today signed into law a wage subsidy for Chileans between the ages of 18 and 24, part of a $4 billion stimulus package announced on Jan. 6. The government will make cash payments of 20 percent of monthly wages to lower-income workers while employers will get a hiring incentive pegged at 10 percent of those employees’ pay.
     “We are preparing ourselves for March so the month can be a record period for getting new public works started,” Maria Olivia Recart, undersecretary of finance, said today after the bill signing, according to an e-mailed statement from the Finance Ministry.