Mexico's unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in the third quarter, up slightly from the 5.1 percent rate registered in the same period in 2012, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said.

Some 2.7 million people were unemployed in the July-September period out of a labor force of 52.3 million, the INEGI said.

The underemployment rate - defined as workers who wish to and are willing to work more hours but are unable to do so - was 8.5 percent in the third quarter, the same level as in the July-September 2012 period, the INEGI said.

The statistics agency, which considers a worker to be employed if they are older than 14 and work at least six hours a week in any job, said the labor force participation rate was 94.8 percent in the third quarter.

Some 59.1 percent of Mexico's workers were employed in the informal sector of the economy during the third quarter, a figure that was below the 60.6 percent level registered in the July-September 2012 period, the INEGI said.

About 61.6 percent of workers were employed in the service sector, while 24 percent worked in manufacturing, 13.8 percent in agriculture and mining, and 0.60 percent were in unspecified sectors.

Some 66.6 percent of workers are salaried, 22.9 percent are self-employed, 6.2 percent do not receive set salaries because they work in family owned businesses and 4.3 percent are employers.

Mexico has a population of 118.6 million, according to the latest projections based on the 2010 census, of whom 53.3 million live in poverty. EFE