Fall in unemployment rate gives heart to Portuguese government ahead of elections

Portugal's center-right government has received some good news as it aims for re-election in two months' time: the country's unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in four years.

The National Statistics Institute said Wednesday the jobless rate in the second quarter fell to 11.9 percent.

The last time it was so low was in 2011 — the year Portugal needed a 78 billion euros ($71.7 billion) bailout as it fell victim to the financial crisis engulfing countries using the shared euro currency. Amid a deep recession, the unemployment rate reached a record 17.7 percent in 2013.

The main opposition Socialist Party, which was in power for six years up to 2011, disputes the reliability of the jobless figures.

A general election will be held Oct. 4.