* Jobless rate slows to 4.96 pct, below 5.1 pct in Reuters
* Bolsters bets for steady growth
* Headline unadjusted rate lowest in at least 3 years
By Alexandra Alper
MEXICO CITY, Jan 21 Mexico's jobless rate dipped
in December, easing fears of a sharp economic slowdown in Latin
America's No. 2 economy.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell
more than expected to 4.96 percent last month, the national
statistics agency said on Monday, pulling back from an 8-month
high hit in November.
The figure beat expectations for a 5.1 percent rate in a
Reuters poll. December's rate was also below a downwardly
revised 5.11 percent unemployment rate for November.
Unemployment has fallen back from rates near 6 percent seen
during a deep recession in 2009, but has crept up in recent
months as the global slowdown has begun to weigh.
Economic growth in Latin America's second-largest economy
moderated in the third quarter and economists expect
fourth-quarter activity to be affected by weaker global demand
and lingering fiscal woes in the United States, Mexico's biggest
Mexico's central bank held borrowing costs steady on Friday,
but said it could cut interest rates if inflation continues to
cool and economic growth flags, dropping its recent threat to
The headline unadjusted rate was 4.47 percent in
December, the lowest level in at least three years. It came in
below the 4.77 percent expected in the poll and down from the
5.12 percent notched the month prior.