The active workforce of Portugal fell by 3.1 percent in May from April to 4.91 million as lesser of the Portuguese sought jobs amid the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, and the number of those who were employed fell, official data showed on Wednesday.

The National Statistics Institute (INE) mentioned in the flash estimate that the rate of jobless people in May dropped to 5.5 percent from that of April's 6.3 percent because of the lower overall workforce.

Active Workforce of Portugal Fell by 3.1% in May

Recession
Recession Pixabay

With thousands of jobs suspended and supported under a government furlough scheme during the pandemic, the jobless rate has become less of a reliable gauge for the health of the economy, with shrinking active workforce and employment numbers showing the extent of the problem. The employed population shrank to 4.65 million people from just over five million in April and almost 5.2 million a year earlier.

The INE said that the number of inactive people who did not actively seek work and inactive people who sought work but were not immediately available to start working, had increased significantly due to the economic fallout from the pandemic and the subsequent furlough schemes for companies.

(With agency inputs)