UPDATE 1-Argentina's jobless rate drops to 7.2 pct in second-quarter recovery
(Adds context on economic recovery)
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Argentina's unemployment rate dropped to 7.2 percent in the second quarter from a nearly three-year high in the prior quarter, the national statistics institute said on Tuesday, reinforcing signs of an economic rebound.
Argentina's economy, the third largest in Latin America, is recovering this year from a sharp slowdown in 2012. Economic activity in the April to June quarter expanded by more than 6 percent compared to the second quarter of 2012.
A busy construction industry and the fastest industrial growth in nearly two years have driven the recovery, supported by government spending ahead of midterm elections in October.
Solid global demand for Argentine grains has also contributed to the growing economy, helping to lift exports 11 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier.
The jobless rate was 7.9 percent in the first quarter of the year, its highest since the second quarter of 2010. Unemployment in the April-June period of 2012 was 7.2 percent.
(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)