* Quarterly rate highest since second quarter of 2010
* Argentina’s economic growth has slowed sharply this year
BUENOS AIRES, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Argentina’s unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in the third quarter from 7.2 percent in the same period of 2011, the government’s statistics agency said on Monday.
Unemployment in Latin America’s No. 3 economy, where growth has slowed sharply, was 7.2 percent in the second quarter of 2012 as well.
Monday’s result is the highest since the second quarter of 2010 when unemployment was 7.9 percent.
A long boom period in Argentina has petered out this year due to sluggish global demand, high inflation, a poor grains harvest and the impact of government import and currency controls on investment.
Gross domestic product showed zero growth in the second quarter and posted its weakest year-on-year performance since the third quarter of 2009, when the world was gripped by financial crisis.
The economy grew just 0.1 percent year-on-year in September and fell far short of market expectations, government data showed last week.
However, some economists say the economy may have bottomed out and could show signs of mild recovery in the coming months.
“Activity touched bottom during the second quarter of 2012 and we expect it to firm very gradually throughout the remainder of the year on the back of added fiscal and monetary policy stimulus and the expected recovery of activity in Brazil,” Goldman Sachs analyst Alberto Ramos wrote in a briefing note on Friday.