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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The unemployment rate for the six major metropolitan areas in Brazil in January was 7.6 percent, the highest for the month since 2009 according to the IBGE’s (Brazilian Statistics Bureau) Monthly Employment Survey. The rate increased by 0.7 percentage points in comparison to the previous month, December and by 2.3 percentage points from January of 2015.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, unemployment highest in January since 2009
Brazil’s unemployment rate continues to increase, with January’s rate being the highest since 2009, photo by Antonio Cruz/Agencia Brasil.

The number of people in Brazil with jobs totaled 23 million in January, a retraction by 1.0 percent in relation to December and down by 2.7 percent in relation to January of 2015.

Although IBGE economists expected a decline in January due to the end of temporary work over the end-of-the-year holidays, the rate of the decrease was higher than in other years.

The number of workers with formal jobs was stable in comparison to December, but fell by 2.3 percent in comparison to the same month last year.

The survey reports that although all regions registered an increase in unemployment, the regions with the highest number of unemployed persons were Belo Horizonte (17.2 percent) and São Paulo (15.7 percent). The sectors most affected by unemployment in January included education, health and social services.

According to the IBGE not only employment decreased but wages also fell in January. On average wages fell by 1.3 percent in comparison to December and by 7.4 percent in relation to January of 2015.

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.

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