UPDATE 1-Brazil jobless rate rises slightly in February, wages up

jueves 27 de marzo de 2014 08:43 GYT

(Recasts to change dateline, add details on wages and workforce)

By Silvio Cascione

BRASILA, March 27 (Reuters) - Brazil's jobless rate rose slightly in February but remained low compared to the same month a year before, indicating a tight labor market that continued to lend support to a flagging economy while fueling inflation pressures.

Brazil's non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate rose in February to 5.1 percent, up from 4.8 percent in January, the government statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.

The number was in line with the median forecast of 5.1 percent in a poll of 27 economists. In February 2013, Brazil's jobless rate stood at 5.6 percent.

Brazil's jobless rate remains one of the lowest among major economies despite weak economic growth, helping support for President Dilma Rousseff as she seeks re-election in October.

The number of Brazilians with jobs remained unchanged from January and from a year earlier at 23 million. The number of people who failed to find a job increased 6.9 percent from January but dropped 8.3 percent from a year earlier to 1.2 million people, IBGE said.

Inflation-adjusted wages rose 3.1 percent from February 2013 to an average of 2,015.60 reais ($875) a month. That was 0.8 percent higher than in January.

A shrinking workforce is a key reason why Brazil's jobless rate has remained low even as the economy has struggled to grow since 2011, economists say.   Continuación...