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Labor minister says Chile has overcome high unemployment from 2010 quake

(Xinhua)

09:34, February 23, 2012

SANTIAGO, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chile has managed to bring under control the high unemployment which erupted following the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 45,000 people without jobs in the six regions worst affected, Labor Minister Evelyn Matthei said Wednesday.

Two years after the 9.0-magnitude quake, which hit southern Chile in January 2010, unemployment today is below the figures seen in the period just after the earthquake, Matthei told Xinhua in an interview.

"For a country like China this number wouldn't mean anything because it's a country with a large population, but for Chile it was a lot and we are very happy because we have worked well in these two years to recover these jobs," she said.

Matthei said that the administration of President Sebastian Pinera has considered job creation as a priority for his government "because many people had lost their homes and their sources of employment and they didn't have anything to live with" in the post-quake difficult period.

"So immediately after the quake, the government created emergency jobs, but now the industry is recovering on its own so we are doing good," she said.

She said the fishery industry, which suffered particularly hard because of the tsunami that followed shortly after the earthquake, has now seen boats being rebuilt, tools being replaced and the overall industry being restructured.

"Many of them suffered great damage due to the tsunami that came after the earthquake. The reconstruction works of the fishery industry has been supported with both private capital and government investment," said Matthei.

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