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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The number of unemployed persons in Brazil increased by more than 135,000 in February, according to the IBGE (Brazilian Statistics Bureau), registering the worst month of February since 2009. The unemployment rate in February was of 8.2 percent.

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

The bureau, which surveyed Brazil’s six major metropolitan regions, released that the unemployment rate for February increased by 0.6 percentage points in relation to January and 2.4 percentage points in relation to February of 2015. According to the IBGE more than two million people are not employed, a surge of more than 565,000 from the same time last year.

The Monthly Employment Survey also showed that the average wages for workers declined by 1.5 percent in relation to January and dropped by 7.5 percent in relation to February of 2015.

The survey reports that all metropolitan regions, except for that of São Paulo, registered stability in the unemployment rate in February in comparison to January. São Paulo’s unemployment rate increased from 8.1 percent to 8.3 percent. In comparison to February of 2015, all regions registered increases with the highest increase of unemployed persons being seen in Recife (from seven percent to 10.4 percent) and São Paulo (from 4.9 percent to 7.2 percent).

The Monthly Employment Survey is conducted in Brazil’s six largest metropolitan areas: Recife, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Porto Alegre. This will be the last Monthly Employment Survey conducted by the IBGE. Next month the survey, which was introduced at the IBGE in 1980, will be substituted by the National Household Survey (Pnad continua) which surveys nearly 211 thousand households in more than 3,400 municipalities throughout the country. Analysts say the new survey will paint a more precise picture of the unemployment situation in Brazil as a whole.

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