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Angra do Heroísmo ,  January 21, 2020

Lowest unemployment levels in the Azores over the last nine years

The Vice-President of the Government stated in Angra do Heroísmo that the data published today by the Institute for Employment and Professional Training "show that unemployment has fallen consistently in the Azores."
Sérgio Ávila spoke at the presentation of the report on the situation of the regional labour market in 2019, based on the final data from the Institute for Employment and Professional Training, which registers the evolution of unemployment in the country and, consequently, in the Region.
"According to the data published today, the number of unemployed registered in the Azores stands at 6,982, which represents the lowest number of unemployment registered in the last nine years," the government official revealed, adding that this represents "a reduction of 9.3% in unemployment in the Azores, i.e. 715 fewer unemployed Azoreans.
With regard to the beginning of this legislative term, and considering the last three years as a whole, "there is a reduction of 27% in the number of registered unemployed, i.e. 2,629 fewer unemployed," added the Vice-President.
"If we want to assess this evolution over an even longer period, we find that, on average, there has been a reduction of about 1,000 registered unemployed Azoreans per year over the last seven years, demonstrating a consistent and structural reduction in unemployment in the Azores," stressed Sérgio Ávila.
Also, according to the data, unemployment reduced in every month of last year, which means that unemployment has not reduced due to seasonality. In fact, "it has been decreased from month to month, demonstrating that the reduction of unemployment is structural and not based on seasonal variation," noted the government official.
Sérgio Ávila also highlighted the "major effort" that has been made to ensure gender equality.
"Currently, the number of unemployed men and women is roughly the same, standing at 3,516 men and 3,466 women, when six years ago there were 2,100 more unemployed men than women.  This demonstrates that, in reducing unemployment among men and women by about 40%, we have now reached a gender balance in terms of unemployment."
According to Sérgio Ávila, the regional labour market has also reached a balance between men and women, with a very significant increase in the rate of female activity and, therefore, in the effort to integrate women into the labour market.
The Vice-Presidency stated that this reduction in unemployment "is essentially based on a significant increase in new jobs."
"In the last three years, there were responses to 1,700 job advertisements made available at employment agencies, i.e., three times more than in the 2012-2013 period," the government official said, adding that "1,775 Azoreans were placed in the labour market last year by employment agencies."
Regarding the Government's programmes, Sérgio Ávila pointed out that there are currently 3,364 fewer Azoreans enrolled in occupational or employment programmes than in 2016.
"The number of beneficiaries has been reduced by half over the past three years and this reduction has been accompanied by a simultaneous reduction in unemployment," said the Vice-President.
"If we compare the last three years, there are 3,364 fewer Azoreans enrolled in occupational programmes and there are 2,629 fewer unemployed Azoreans," added the government official.
The Vice-President stressed that, "contrary to what some have tried to do in past, there has been a very significant reduction in unemployment, while there is an equally significant reduction in the number of Azoreans covered these programmes."
In fact, "5,993 new jobs were created in the last three years, which absorbed those who were unemployed and those who had been enrolled in occupational programmes."
The government official considered that this result is only possible through the implementation of employment support measures by the Regional Government.
"Between 2016 and 2019, the Government redirected these employment support measures and strengthened the measures to support the recruitment of workers by companies, increasing the measures from three to seven, reducing the socio-professional support measures from six to four and promoting training programmes," said the Vice-President.
"If unemployment has fallen, obviously employment has also grown, but the growth in employment has gone far beyond the reduction in unemployment, as there has been a significant increase in the working population," said Sérgio Ávila. In this regard, he revealed that, according to data released by INE (National Statistics Institute), "there are 8,442 more employed Azoreans than at the beginning of this legislative period."
"The increase in employability is also achieved through the measures implemented by the Regional Government," said the government official.
According to him, this increase is effectively demonstrated in a very important indicator, which is the employability rate of people six months after the end of the employment support measures. 
As he explained, this employability rate has substantially increased over the last three years.
If we consider the young people enrolled in traineeship programmes in 2016, 47% of them were employed after the end of their traineeship.
"At the end of 2018, the figure rose to 83%, which means that four out of five young people who completed their traineeship were employed six months after the end of the programme," said the government official.
Regarding the support measures for the recruitment of workers by companies, 65% were employed six months after the end of this measure.
“Today, the figure also rose to 83%,” emphasised Sérgio Ávila.
The Vice-President also revealed that more than 15% of the beneficiaries of socio-occupational programmes had found employment after completing the programme in 2016 and that today they already represent 70%. According to him, "this clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of these measures and the way occupational programmes have contributed for the return of these people to the labour market."
Sérgio Ávila stated that these results of increased employment and reduced unemployment in the past three years are largely based on the measures implemented by the Government, either to support companies or to support the recruitment of workers, representing a total of 23,395 Azoreans placed in the labour market.
"The conclusion we can draw today is that we have managed to reconcile employment promotion policies, stimulating employment and recruitment by companies. We have supported, whenever necessary, those facing difficulties in returning to the labour market and we have promoted the professional integration of young people who had their first contact with the labour market. With these combined efforts, there are many more employed Azoreans, fewer unemployed Azoreans and even fewer Azoreans enrolled in occupational programmes," said Sérgio Ávila.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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