Brazil’s jobless rate hits record 14.7 pct in Q1


RIO DE JANEIRO, May 27 (Xinhua) — Unemployment in Brazil rose to a record 14.7 percent in the first quarter of 2021, meaning about 14.8 million people were out of work, the state-run Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) said on Thursday.

Compared to the previous quarter (October to December), unemployment rose 0.8 percentage points from January to March, while compared to the first quarter of 2020, unemployment increased 2.5 percentage points.

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“It is the highest rate and the largest contingent of unemployed people in all the quarters on record,” the IBGE said, adding record-keeping began in 2012.

The figure means over 880,000 people joined the ranks of the unemployed compared to the previous quarter, and 1.9 million more people compared to a year ago.

“The first quarter of each year, as we have seen in other years, is a period of increased unemployment. In other words, it is not a specific trend for this year, but rather a relatively expected behavior for this quarter of the year. But this seasonal effect may be exaggerated by 2020’s impact on the labor market,” the IBGE said, referring to the emergence of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The discouraged population (those who wanted to find work but gave up looking) also increased to a record 6 million people, 25.1 percent more than in the first quarter of 2020, and representing 5.6 percent of the workforce.

The average salary in the first quarter was 2,544 reals (about 480 U.S. dollars).

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