Argentina's unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, the INDEC national statistics bureau revealed Thursday.
The rate is below the jobless rate for the same period of 2018 (9.1 percent) and the third quarter of 2019 (9.8 percent), despite the recession that has gripped Argentina for the past two years. However, underemployment (the underuse of a worker, due to being over-skilled, or part-time) rose, the bureau said.
In the year-over-year comparison, "other forms of pressure on the labour market increased in a statistically significant way," INDEC said in a statement.
"People who have a job but are actively looking for another one (ocupados demandantes), increased 1.7 percentage points compared to the fourth quarter of 2018," going from 17.3 percent to 19 percent, he added.
Over the same period, within the employed population, self-employed workers increased their activity while that of employees decreased, a report from the bureau said.
Meanwhile, the underemployed went from representing 12 percent of the working population at the end of 2018 to 13.1 percent in the last quarter of 2019.
In the overcrowded region of Greater Buenos Aires, where a quarter of the 44 million Argentines live, the unemployment rate was 10.8 percent and underemployment 13.1 percent, while 18.7 percent are employed but searching other employment.
The data correspond to the end of the term of the former president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), who left office on December 10, Alberto Fernández.