Colombia’s December urban unemployment rate rose to 12.3% from 10.9% a year earlier, the national statistics department, or DANE, said Friday.
The figures apply to the country’s 13 largest metropolitan areas. Observers of the Colombian economy tend to consider the urban unemployment rate, as opposed to the national rate, to be a better gauge of the job market’s health.
In the October-December period, urban unemployment rose to 12.3% from 10.7% in the same period in 2008.
DANE said 2.43 million people were unemployed in Colombia last month, up from 2.10 million in December 2008. The higher unemployment rate contributes to the weakening of consumer demand in the country, analysts said.
DANE said that on a national level, including rural areas, the unemployment rate was 11.3%, up from 10.6% in December 2008.
The average national unemployment rate in 2009 was 12%, up from 11.3% in 2008.
The Colombian economy, slowing because of the global economic crisis, contracted 0.2% in the third quarter of 2009 compared with the same period a year ago. The third quarter contraction was the fourth consecutive annual contraction registered by the Colombian economy.
(Inti Landauro, Dow Jones)