A man holds a sign reading:
A man holds a sign reading: "Budget = hunger, unemployment" during an anti-austerity protest in front of Portugal's parliament in Lisbon November 27, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Portugal's unemployment rate surged to a record 17.7% in the first quarter this year.

According to the National Statistics Institute, the number of jobless Portugese rose from 16.9% in the previous quarter, as the bailed-out country tries to tackle its deepening recession.

The overall number of unemployed rose to 952,200 people from 819,300 a year earlier.

Youth unemployment rose to 42% from 36% a year ago.

Since Portugal resorted to a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout in 2011, the country's government has had to repeatedly revise up its unemployment estimates.

It now expects unemployment to reach 18.2% this year and then peak at 18.5% in 2014.

The government plans to lay off 30,000 of the country's 600,000 public sector workers via voluntary redundancies, as well as, raising the retirement age by one year to 66-years old.

Portugal also plans to cut spending, in order to slash budget deficits to meet its bailout targets, and save the state €4.8bn (£4.1bn, $6.3bn) by 2015.

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