(Adds comments, details on seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate)
BRASILIA, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Brazil’s unemployment rate broke its long rise and remained surprisingly stable in September at a five-year-high, although wages extended their decline amid a severe recession.
Brazil’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained unchanged in September from August at 7.6 percent, below market forecasts for an increase to 7.8 percent, statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.
Wages discounted for inflation fell 0.8 percent from August and 4.3 percent from September 2014, to an average of 2,179.80 reais ($552.80).
The unemployment rate had risen uninterruptedly from a record low of 4.3 percent in December as Brazil’s economy slipped into its worst recession in 25 years. Brazil’s gross domestic product is expected to shrink about 3 percent this year, while inflation approaches an 11-year-high of 10 percent.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also remained unchanged, according to estimates by Barclays. Employment is currently at 2012 levels, economist Bruno Rovai said.
“Despite the stability on the unemployment rate, labor market dynamics continue to deteriorate,” Rovai said, projecting a decline of 4 percent in private consumption this year.
Rising unemployment has dragged consumer confidence down to record lows, in a vicious cycle that has hampered demand and worsened both the recession and the government’s budget crisis.
It also dented the popularity of President Dilma Rousseff, who faces impeachment threats just a year after her re-election.
The number of Brazilians with jobs in the six major metropolitan areas surveyed by IBGE fell 1.8 percent from September 2014 to 22.7 million. The tally of people who unsuccessfully looked for work jumped 56.6 percent from the same month a year earlier to 1.9 million.
The September unemployment numbers had little impact on Brazilian markets. Yields on interest rate futures <0#2DIJ:> fell in early trading, suggesting a smaller probability of interest rate hikes after the central bank pushed back its inflation target to later than 2016.
$1 = 3.9432 Brazilian reais Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and W Simon