Brazil unemployment rate falls to 13.9% in quarter through December

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Brazil's unemployment rate ended last year at 13.9%, figures showed on Friday, extending a recent dip as workers returning to the labor market found jobs, but the average jobless rate in 2020 was the highest since comparable records began in 2012.

That was down from 14.1% in the three months to November, statistics agency IBGE said, in line with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists and slipping further from the record 14.6% in the three months to September.

Brazil's unemployment rate ended 2019 at 11.0%.

The average unemployment rate last year was 13.5%, IBGE said, up from 11.9% the year before and the highest since the series began eight years ago.

The IBGE figures showed 86.2 million Brazilians had work, up 4.5%, or 3.7 million people, from the July-September period, although still down 8.9%, or 8.4 million people, from the same period a year earlier.

The number of Brazilians officially unemployed in the three months to December dipped slightly to 13.9 million from 14.1 million in the prior three-month period, IBGE said, but that was up almost 20% from a year ago.

The under-employment rate fell to 28.7% from 30.3% in the July-September period, while the average underemployment rate last year was a record 28.1%, IBGE said.

The number of under-employed fell by 1.1 million to 32 million, IBGE said. That was still 22.5% higher than the same period a year earlier, or up almost 6 million more people.

The workforce stood at 100.1 million people, up 3.5 million from the three months through September, and the number of people out of the workforce entirely fell by 2.3 million to 76.3 million, IBGE said.

Compared with a year earlier, however, the workforce is still down 6.1 million people, and there are almost 11 million more people out of the workforce completely, IBGE noted. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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