Unemployment in Costa Rica reached 10.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, a slight increase over the same period last year, the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC) reported Tuesday.
According to INEC, 232,000 people were unemployed in the first three months of 2015, similar to 2014, although the unemployment index rose 0.3 percentage points.
Male unemployment reached 8.8 percent while female unemployment was 12.3 percent during the first quarter of 2015, INEC reported.
At the same time, individuals working fewer hours than they would like make up 12.9 percent of the labor force.
Labor Minister Víctor Morales and Economy Minister Welmer Ramos said Tuesday at the weekly government press conference that unemployment is concentrated in the commercial sector, with 73,000 jobs lost during the first quarter, followed by the transport sector, with 20,000. Morales said the government planned to meet with business leaders this week to study the problem and seek solutions.
The government has identified unemployment as one of its principal economic concerns and has launched initiatives aimed at attracting investment in order to create jobs, especially for youth and women. President Luis Guillermo Solís is currently touring U.S. cities in search of investment to generate employment, principally in high technology sectors.