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Brazil's jobless rate hits nine-year low

Last Updated: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:21

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil's unemployment rate fell in November to 5.2 percent, its lowest level of the past nine years, authorities said Thursday.

Last month's jobless rate was the lowest since the Brazilian government began measuring unemployment under more rigorous criteria in March 2002. The previous record low had been 5.3 percent in December 2010.

The unemployment rate in November was down 0.6 percentage points from October and 0.5 percentage points from the penultimate month of 2010.

According to the IBGE statistics agency, the ranks of the unemployed in the country's six largest metropolitan areas (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Recife) fell to 1.3 million, down 9.6 percent compared to October.

The number of people out of work in November was 7.9 percent lower than in the same month of last year.

Meanwhile, the number of employed people in the same six metro areas rose to 22.8 million, an increase of 0.7 percent from October and of 1.9 percent relative to November 2010.

Those figures mean Brazil created nearly 431,000 new jobs over the past 12 months.

The IBGE also reported that the average monthly salary paid to Brazilian workers in November was 1,623.40 reais (some USD 900), virtually unchanged from October and up 0.7 percent in real terms from November 2010.

Despite the nine-year low in the unemployment rate, the Labour Ministry said Monday that Brazil only created 42,735 new jobs with formal employment contracts in November, 69 percent less than in the same month of 2010 (138,247 jobs) and the lowest November figure since 2008.

The ministry attributed that result to an economic slowdown in Brazil triggered by global economic woes.

Likewise, a recent survey by an industrial employers' federation showed the percentage of Brazilians who are very afraid of losing their jobs rose to 19.2 percent in December, up from 12.8 percent in September.

Although Brazil has been largely immune from financial turbulence in Europe and the US, the government announced earlier this month that the economy did not expand in the third quarter relative to the previous three-month period, ending a streak of eight consecutive quarters of growth.

Brazil's average unemployment rate hit an eight-year low of 6.7 percent in 2010, a result attributed to the rapid 7.5 percent growth in the nation's gross domestic product during that period.

The unemployment rate in Brazil - home to roughly 190 million people - is calculated based on the percentage of people looking for work in the country's six biggest metro areas and therefore does not take account the large population working in the informal economy.


First Published: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:21
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