Chile’s jobless rate drops to lowest point in six years

The country’s unemployment level hit 6.1 percent in the last quarter of 2012, a reflection of the nation’s strong job market.

While job markets across North America and Europe struggle under the weight of the global financial crisis, Chile is doing better than ever, according to new data released by Chile’s National Statistics Institute.

During the final three months of 2012, Chile’s jobless rate dropped to just 6.1 percent – the lowest jobless rate for the country since the November 2006 to January 2007 period almost six years ago. By comparison, the United States 2012 fourth quarter jobless rate was 7.8 percent.

According to the INE, this low jobless rate can be credited to the expansion of agricultural jobs in Chile. Chile is a major producer of fruit, wine, and salmon.

2012 as a whole

Overall in 2012, Chile’s average annual unemployment rate was 6.4 percent. This is a substantial decrease from 2011’s average annual unemployment rate of 7.1 percent.

According to the INS, Chile’s 2012 low unemployment rate is due to job growth in three specific areas.

«Annual increases (in employment) occurred in the sectors of teaching, public administration and defense, and mining and quarrying,» the agency said in its report.

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera expressed his pride in the new statistics with reporters after the data was released.

“Since this government took office, some 700,000 new jobs have been created … the ability of our economy to continue creating jobs remains solid and firm,» the President said.

More on Chile’s economy

Agricultural jobs were one of the driving factors of Chile’s employment strength in 2012. Chile is the fifth largest exporter of wine in the world, the number two producer of salmon, and the leading exporter of fruit in the Southern Hemisphere.

Chile’s mining industry has played a significant role – the country is the world’s number one exporter of copper.