SANTIAGO – Current unemployment figures show that the Chilean economy is coping well with the impact of external headwinds, the government said Wednesday.
Unemployment was 6.1 percent in the September-November rolling quarter, down 0.2 percent from the previous three months, the National Statistics Institute reported.
The figure exceeded the expectations of Chilean analysts, who forecast that the jobless rate would dip by only 0.1 percent.
“This shows that the economy is making a healthy adjustment to the external shock we have had,” acting Finance Minister Alejandro Micco told reporters.
“Our macroeconomic policies, including monetary policy and fiscal policy, have played a role to sustain the level of employment ... at levels normal for our country,” he said.
“Keep in mind that the fall in copper prices has been steep,” he said in a reference to Chile’s main export, now selling for around $2.49 a pound, down from $3.11 a pound in 2014.
For Chile, a one-cent change in the annual average price of copper represents nearly $40 million in gained or lost taxes and a swing of roughly $91 million in the balance of payments.
The Chilean economy has expanded by a modest 2 percent this year, hampered both by the fall in prices for copper and other exports, such as forestry products, and by lower domestic consumption and business investment.
Looking forward, Chile’s Central Bank trimmed its growth projection for next year to a range of 2 percent to 3 percent, warning that 2016 will be yet another difficult year.