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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The latest survey by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) shows that Brazil closed 2016 with 12.3 million unemployed people, the highest rate since the country entered, in 2014, into one of the worst recessions of its history.

Brazil, unemployment, Rio de Janeiro
Unemployment continues to rise due to ailing economy, photo by Valdecir Galor/SMCS Fotos Publicas.

According to the entity the unemployed population in Brazil grew by 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the year (October-December) compared the July-September quarter. In comparison to the same quarter of 2015 it increased by 36 percent, or 3.3 million people.

In comparison to the same period last year, the sectors which registered the highest increase in unemployment were construction (-10.8 percent), industry (-7.7 percent) and agriculture, (-4.5 percent). The lodging and food group sector on the other hand opened up job positions during the period increasing its labor force by 5.4 percent.

Also according to the IBGE the country’s employed population at the end of 2016 reached 90.3 million workers, growing by 0.5 percent in the last quarter over the third quarter, and increasing by 2.1 percent (2 million people) in the comparison to the fourth quarter of 2015.

The private sector employed formally (with benefits) more than 34 million, remaining stable from the previous quarters. The informal jobs (without benefits) in the private sector, however, increased by 2.4 percent in the last three months of 2016, with more than 10 million persons taking temporary, non-registered job positions.

With rising unemployment, IBGE analysts also saw an increase of self-employed individuals. The number of self-employed persons increased by 1.3 percent, to 22.1 million. And although unemployment increased, the average workers’ income remained stable at R$2,043 per month.

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