New Brazil labor indexes focus on employers' view of job market
By Asher Levine
SAO PAULO, April 27 (Reuters) - Brazilian researchers on Monday released a new set of labor market indicators based on data from the country's leading employment website in an effort to uncover broader trends in Latin America's largest economy.
The new indexes, a partnership between economic research institute Fipe and job site Catho, track changes in the volume of help-wanted ads.
Catho Fipe's New Job Opening Index showed a 3.2 percent decline in new job openings in March from a year earlier, suggesting the current slowdown in Brazil's job market is partly due to declining demand for workers.
"In all the previous indicators we had looked at the labor market from the perspective of the worker," said Raone Costa, an economist with Fipe in Sao Paulo. "With this data, we can now see what it looks like from the viewpoint of the companies doing the hiring, which gives us a new way to interpret changes that ultimately affect the broader economy."
Extrapolating the data further, Costa's team developed a separate indicator to show the number of open jobs available per economically active worker.
The Available Jobs Per Worker Index, using March 2004 as a baseline, showed there were 2.1 times more jobs open per worker last month.
Meanwhile, the Available Jobs Per Job-Seeker Index uses January 2004 as a baseline. The index showed there were 5.51 times as many job openings per job-seeker last month.
According to Fipe, the data shows workers hold far more bargaining power with employers than they did in January 2004, when unemployment also was at higher levels than currently.
Government statistics agency IBGE is set to release official employment data for March on Tuesday. The median estimate in a Reuters poll of economists forecasts the rate at 6.15 percent, up from 5.9 percent in February, as a slowdown in Brazil's economy continues to weigh on the labor market. (Editing by Paul Simao)
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