UPDATE 1-Argentina 3rd-qtr unemployment rate holds at 7.5 pct
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BUENOS AIRES Nov 17 (Reuters) - Argentina's unemployment rate held at 7.5 percent in the third quarter, unchanged from the previous three-month period, the government said on Monday.
The country, which defaulted on its debt in June, is battling to stave off a recession. Declines in industrial output and consumer spending have hurt employment levels.
The jobless rate compared with 6.8 percent in the June-September period of 2013.
Unemployment data in Argentina measures the number of people looking for a job who cannot find one. The rate of employment compared with the total population shows a bleaker picture and suggests many more rely on social welfare.
The employment rate edged lower in the third quarter to 41.3 percent from 41.4 percent,
Although Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof forecasts that the economy, Latin America's third largest, will eke out growth this year and next, most analysts predict a fall in national output even if the government strikes a deal with creditors suing over unpaid debt. (Editing by Richard Lough, James Dalgleish and Steve Orlofsky)
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