(Adds details from report, background on Argentina economy)
BUENOS AIRES, June 14 (Reuters) - Argentina had 9.2 percent unemployment in the first quarter, the government’s Indec statistics agency said on Wednesday, compared with 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter last year.
That came as the South American country’s economic activity index rose 0.1 percent from the first quarter in 2016. The economy exited recession with modest growth in the second half of 2016, but gross domestic product fell 2.3 percent on the year.
The economically active population, including people with jobs and those looking for work, rose to 12.5 million from 12.4 million in the fourth quarter. But the unemployed grew to 1.1 million from 937,000, while the number with jobs fell to 11.3 million from 11.5 million.
Wednesday’s data marked the fourth time official unemployment data was published after President Mauricio Macri took office in December 2015 and revamped the country’s statistics agency, which was widely accused of manipulating economic data under former President Cristina Fernandez.
As a result, no inter-annual comparison is available for the first quarter, and employment figures are heavily influenced by seasonal factors. The unemployment rate was 9.3 percent in the second quarter of last year and 8.5 percent in the third quarter. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Luc Cohen; Editing by Diane Craft and Richard Chang)