Portugal's unemployment figures show that Portugal has seen a turnaround since 2011 when the current ruling parties went into office, the country's Minister of Solidarity, Employment and Social Security Pedro Motas Soares said on Thursday.
"The government received in 2011 a country that had an unemployment rate of 12.7 percent, it had the troika here, was complying with a harsh adjustment program and was in recession," he said during a visit to a training center from the food industry in Pontinha, in the outskirts of Lisbon.
"Now we know that the unemployment rate is 12.4 percent meaning that for the first time we are seeing an unemployment rate below the rate recorded in 2011. That shows Portugal has seen a turnaround," he added.
According to figures released on Thursday by Portugal's National Institute of Statistics (INE), the country's unemployment rate in June this year stood at 12.4 percent.
Motas Soares said these figures should be seen as a "sign of hope and confidence for many Portuguese who are still unemployed."
He said that since January 2013, around 204,000 jobs had been created and creating new opportunities remains the country's greatest challenge.
The International Monetary Fund warned earlier this week that it will take Portugal at least 20 years to drop its unemployment rate to the levels recorded before the financial crisis. Enditem