Brazil’s unemployment rate through January 2023 grows slightly

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Brazil’s unemployment rate rose to 8.4 percent in the moving quarter that ended in January, which means a total of 9 million unemployed — only 27,000 more than in the previous quarter that ended in October 2022. The results come from the country’s main national household sample survey, carried out by national statistics agency IBGE. 

The result, according to IBGE, means stability, although it is slightly above the 7.9 percent verified in the three months to December and is the first increase in monitoring over the last ten months.

The figure is also the lowest for the three-month period ending in January since 2015.

Between November 2022 and January 2023, the occupied population — made up of workers, employers, and civil servants — was 98.6 million people in a workforce of 107.6 million. That’s 3.2 million more people working than in the same period last year and only 1 percent lower than in the immediately preceding quarter, which also represents stability for the IBGE.

The number of formal employees, that is, those with a formal contract (excluding domestic workers) was 36.8 million, also indicating stability compared to the previous three months and an increase of 6.5 percent (2.3 million more people) on an annual basis.

If the unemployment rate drops while more people are employed, it means that more Brazilians are entering the workforce (only jobless workers who are actively seeking work count as unemployed). The country’s labor market has apparently not lost as much momentum as analysts feared, and as IBGE’s research manager Adriana Beringuy pointed out to Reuters, the stability verified through January would be a repercussion of the reduction in demand for work in November and December 2022

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