UPDATE 2-Brazil's unemployment hits highest since 2010; wages sink

jueves 25 de junio de 2015 11:27 GYT
 

(Adds poll forecasts for 2015 and 2016 in 5th paragraph)

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 25 (Reuters) - Brazil's unemployment rate climbed for a fifth straight month and wages fell in May, government data showed on Thursday, adding to signs of a painful recession.

Brazil's non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose in May to 6.7 percent, the highest since 2010, from 6.4 percent in April, statistics agency IBGE said.

The latest number was slightly above the median forecast of 6.6 percent in a Reuters poll of 27 economists.

The unemployment rate has risen without interruption from a record low of 4.3 percent in December, pushed up by hundreds of thousands of layoffs in manufacturing and the service sector as they struggle with higher taxes and interest rates.

The unemployment rate is expected to continue rising in through 2016, climbing to 7.0 percent this year and 8.0 percent in 2016, according to a Reuters poll. Some economists predict more than 1 million job losses in the two years combined.

Wages dropped in May too, in a likely blow for already-struggling retailers. Salaries discounted for inflation fell 1.9 percent from April to 2,117.10 Brazilian reais ($685). They sank 5.0 percent from May 2014.

Rising unemployment could weigh on consumer confidence, which is already at record lows, dampening prospects of economic recovery. It also spells more trouble for President Dilma Rousseff, whose popularity is already at rock-bottom.

It could, in turn, help the central bank control inflation, which has climbed near the double-digits in percentage terms in recent months.

The number of Brazilians with jobs in the six major metropolitan areas surveyed by IBGE remained unchanged from May 2014 at 22.8 million. The tally of people who unsuccessfully looked for work rose 38.5 percent from the same month the year before, to 1.6 million. ($1 = 3.09 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Caio Saad; Writing by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)