Portugal jobless rate down for 1st time in 2 years

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's statistics agency says the bailed-out country's unemployment rate has fallen for the first time in two years.

The National Statistics Institute said Wednesday that preliminary estimates show the jobless rate in the second quarter dropped to 16.4 percent from a record 17.7 percent in the first quarter. A revised and final estimate is due later this month.

The agency didn't provide reasons for the fall but the summer vacation season often brings more job openings. The biggest drop among regions was in the Algarve, one of Europe's top holiday destinations, where the fall was 3.6 percentage points.

Portugal has been in recession for the last 10 quarters. It needed a 78 billion euros ($104 billion) rescue in 2011 after a decade of weak growth pushed it close to bankruptcy.