In the Euro Area (EA), Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in volume recorded a year-on-year increase of 4.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021 (3.9% in the third quarter) and a quarter-on-quarter rate of change of 0.3% (2.3% in the third quarter). In 2021, GDP recorded an annual growth rate of 5.2% in the EA, following the sharp decrease of 6.4% in the previous year and standing 1.5% below the level of 2019.
In Portugal, GDP in real terms registered a year-on-year rate of change of 5.8% in the fourth quarter of 2021 (4.5% in the previous quarter). Compared to the third quarter of 2021, GDP increased by 1.6% in volume (2.9% in the previous quarter). In 2021, GDP grew by 4.9%, in volume, the highest growth since 1990, following the historical decline of 8.4% in 2020, which resulted from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity.
The amount of national withdrawals, payment of services and purchases at automatic payment terminals carried out on the automatic teller machines of the Multibanco network presented a year-on-year growth of 23.1% (14.4% in the previous month), reflecting to some extent a base effect as the comparison is with a month (January 2021) in which additional restrictive measures were implemented in the pandemic context.
The manufacturing price index extended the upward movement observed since April, recording a year-on-year growth rate of 14.3% (14.1% in the previous month). Excluding the energy component, this index increased by 11.3% (10.4% in December), the highest growth of the current series. The industrial production price index of consumer goods registered a more moderate growth (6.3%) although it was also high in the context of the respective time series. The year-on-year rate of change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to 3.3% in January, 0.6 percentage points more than in the previous month, reaching the highest rate since February 2012.
Largely reflecting the acceleration in prices, the short-term indicators for economic activity from the perspective of production, available for the year 2021 as a whole, continued to reveal high growths in nominal terms. In industry, the turnover index increased by 15.0%, after having decreased by 10.7% in 2020, with an increase in industrial prices by 8.8% (reduction of 4.2% in 2020).
According to the Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate stood at 6.6%, 0.4 percentage points less than in 2020. The number of unemployed fell by 3.4% (increase of 3.3% in the previous year). The labour underutilization rate decreased 1.6 percentage points from 2020 to 12.5% in 2021. Total employment increased by 2.7% in 2021 (change of rate of -1.9% in 2020).
In 2021, the average total and regular earnings per employee increased, respectively, by 3.4% and 3.1% and, deflated by the CPI, increased by 2.1% and 1.8%, in the same order.