UPDATE 2-Chile's labor market resilient despite economic slowdown

martes 30 de diciembre de 2014 10:57 GYT

(Recasts, adds analyst's comments, background)

By Anthony Esposito

SANTIAGO Dec 30 (Reuters) - Chile's labor market has remained more resilient than feared in the face of a prolonged economic slowdown, a mixed bag of government data showed on Tuesday, as factory output posted an unexpected drop.

The jobless rate for the September to November period fell to 6.1 percent, from 6.4 percent in August to October, the national statistics institute (INE) said.

For President Michelle Bachelet the jobs data comes as a welcome surprise as she faces a stagnant economy and backlash from business leaders and opposition lawmakers for a planned reform that seeks to balance labor relations by bolstering unions and workers' rights.

The economy of the world's top copper producer has been slowing for several quarters, hampered initially by cooling investment, most notably in the mining sector, with the slowdown compounded by falling household consumption.

Economic growth in 2014 is seen cooling to a five-year low of 1.7 percent, according to the central bank. That compares to growth of 4.1 percent in 2013.

"The better-than-expected jobs report is reassuring. With a significant rebound in investment spending out of sight, the burden of the economic recovery will likely fall on the shoulders of private consumption, which is more directly influenced by labor market conditions," said Tiago Severo, economist at Goldman Sachs.

Retail sales, a barometer of consumption, grew 0.4 percent in November versus a year earlier, after posting two prior consecutive monthly contractions.   Continuación...