MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest since December 2008, bolstering expectations that the central bank will keep its benchmark interest rate on hold.
The jobless rate dropped to 4.47 percent in December from 5.12 percent in November, the national statistics agency said Monday, lower than all 13 economist estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
The central bank said a cut in the record low 4.5 percent interest rate is possible if annual inflation continues to ease as economic growth slows, according to policy makers’ Jan. 18 statement.
While indicators such as industrial production and exports are showing signs of moderating, the unemployment figure gives the central bank “another argument” to keep rates steady this year, said Gabriel Lozano, chief Mexico economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“We have a balance of indicators,” Lozano said in a telephone interview from Mexico City. Unemployment “is another reason the bank shouldn’t move rates in the future.”
The economy will expand about 3.5 percent this year, compared with 3.8 percent in 2012, according to analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
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