(Adds details on wages, consumer confidence)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Brazil’s unemployment rate rose for an eighth straight month in August to the highest in over five years, although the increase was slightly smaller than markets expected, data showed on Thursday.
Brazil’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose in August to 7.6 percent, from 7.5 percent in July, statistics agency IBGE said. The number was below the forecast of 7.7 percent in a Reuters poll of 18 economists.
Rising unemployment has dragged consumer confidence down to record lows, in a vicious cycle that has hampered demand and worsened both Brazil’s recession and the government’s budget crisis. Consumer confidence fell to 76.3 in September from 80.6 in August, according to a private survey on Thursday.
The unemployment rate has nearly doubled from a record low of 4.3 percent in December, pushed up by hundreds of thousands of layoffs in the manufacturing and service sectors as Brazil’s economy heads into a deep and probably long recession.
The number of Brazilians with jobs in the six major metropolitan areas surveyed by IBGE fell 1.8 percent from August 2014 to 22.7 million. The tally of people who unsuccessfully looked for work jumped 52 percent from the same month a year earlier to 1.9 million.
Wages increased in August, though not by enough to offset the losses caused by steadily rising inflation, currently at 9.57 percent on a trailing 12-month basis. Salaries discounted for inflation gained 0.5 percent from July to 2,185.50 reais ($520.39). They fell 3.5 percent from August 2014.
Brazil’s economy is expected to shrink 2.7 percent this year, according to the central bank.
$1 = 4.1997 Brazilian reais Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Bernadette Baum