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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Despite forecasts of an improvement in the country’s economy in the coming months, Brazilians are still struggling to make ends meet. Last month Brazilians wrote more than 1.2 million checks that were returned for insufficient funds, according to data from Serasa Experian, while the Brazilian economy lost more than 74,000 jobs, according to the Ministry of Labor.

Number of returned checks for lack of funds increase in October in Brazil
Number of returned checks for lack of funds increase in October in Brazil, photo by Marcos Santos/USP Imagens.

The percentage of returned checks in October, 2.52 percent, was the third largest in the last twenty-five years, according to the credit research company. “The deepening of the recession, pushing up unemployment rates, high interest rates and the loss of purchasing power of the population l continue to maintain the levels of returned checks for insufficient funds high,” says Serasa Experien economists in the report issued this week.

As for job positions, data from Ministry of Labor shows that October 2016 was the 19th straight month where layoffs were greater than hirings. The Ministry’s General Employed and Unemployed Registry (Caged in Portuguese) shows that the number of job positions closed in 2016 already total 751,816.

The sectors registering the largest volume of job losses were construction, services and agriculture, with only the retail sector recording a positive balance last month.

And as job positions around the country shrink, the number of people looking for full-time work increases. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) the number of unemployed persons in the third quarter of 2016 (July, August, and September) was at twelve million.

With the total number of employed persons at 89.9 million, this is the first quarter since the second quarter of 2013 that the number of employed persons drops below the ninety million mark.

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