Unemployment Goes Up to 10.2% in Brazil

Brazil’s unemployment rate went back on the rise and closed the month of January at 10.2%, 0.6% higher than in December, 2004. Compared with January, 2004, however, the rate is down 1.5%.

These data from the Monthly Employment Survey were released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), which attributed the fall in employment to the fact that the period of holiday contracts had ended. That is why January is usually a month of decreasing employment.


Compared with January, 2004, however, the number of employees with formal jobs was up 3.9% and the number with informal jobs, 8.1%.


At the state level, in comparison with December, 2004, the only metropolitan area in which the unemployment rate declined was Rio de Janeiro (from 8.5% to 7.4%).


In Belo Horizonte the rate rose from 8.5% to 9.8%, and in São Paulo, from 9.8% to 11.1%. In the rest of the country unemployment remained stable.


2004 Recovery


The number of jobs and average salary values last year show that there was a recovery in relation to 2003. This finding appeared in the Monthly Employment Survey, released January 25 by the IBGE, according to which the unemployment rate was 11.5% in 2004, compared with 12.3% in 2003.


In comparison with November, 2004, the rate declined 1% in December, to 9.6%. There were significant variations in three of the six metropolitan areas covered by the survey: Rio de Janeiro (from 9.4% to 8.5%), São Paulo (from 11.2% to 9.8%), and Porto Alegre (from 7.8% to 6.6%).


In the other regions the situation remained stable. The number of formal workers (with signed papers) in the private sector, who represent 39.5% of the working population, also showed an improvement last year in comparison with 2003, rising 4.2%.


As for wages, the average for the six metropolitan areas covered by the IBGE survey was down 1.8% in December in relation to November, US$ 333.98 (R$ 895.40) versus US$ 340.27 (R$ 912.28).


Nevertheless, in comparison with December, 2003, when the average monthly wage stood at US$ 327.81 (R$ 878.88), the study reveals that workers recovered 1.9% of their purchasing power.


Translation: David Silberstein
Agência Brasil

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