Argentina unemployment rate rises to 7.9 pct in 1st quarter

BUENOS AIRES Mon May 20, 2013 3:09pm EDT

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BUENOS AIRES May 20 (Reuters) - Argentina's unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent in the first quarter compared with 7.1 percent a year ago, marking the highest reading in nearly three years, the national statistics institute said on Monday.

The jobless rate was reported at 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Argentina's economy, which is the third largest in Latin America, experienced a sharp slowdown last year after booming during most of the 2003-11 period.

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