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Brazil – Unemployment remains flat

21 June 2013

As protests continue across Brazil’s major cities, the government will find some relief from stable employment figures released yesterday. Unemployment in Brazil stayed flat in May as the job market remained relatively robust, according to the latest statistics by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). The joblessness rate stayed at 5.8% in May, unchanged from the previous month and flat from May 2012.

Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to fall slightly to 5.7%, but the number of people out of work was broadly unchanged at 1.4 million in May. Employment levels meanwhile reached 23 million at the end of the month, corresponding to a stable employment rate of 53.8%. The data also shows that average salaries dropped -0.3% last month from April to BRL 1,863.60 (USD 836.93), +1.4% above May 2012 levels.

The country has been hit by an economic slowdown in the past two years which has also impacted the local labour market as the rate of job growth has slowed in recent months. In April, the economy added 196,913 payroll jobs, down from 216,974 in the prior year.

Despite sluggish economic growth – in 2012 the economy grew by just +0.9% – Brazil’s unemployment rate has remained remarkably low, hovering around record levels. Last year’s jobless rate fell to 5.5%, down from 6.0% in the prior year.  But a labour market survey earlier this year projected hiring sentiments remain low, especially in the services sector. 

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