Economy boosts Portuguese government's re-election bid

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Economic news is continuing to give heart to Portugal's center-right government as it aims for re-election in October.

The government is telling voters the country is back on track after a 78 billion euro ($87 billion) bailout in 2011 brought three years of recession amid deep spending cuts.

The National Statistics Institute reported Monday that the economy grew 1.5 percent in the second quarter compared with last year, maintaining the same rate as in the first quarter.

Also, the jobless rate continued to slide, with the institute saying it fell to 12.1 percent in July from 12.3 percent in June. That's the lowest rate since 2010.

Left-of-center opposition parties dispute the unemployment statistics, saying short-term training programs and mass emigration in recent years mean the figures give a false picture.