UPDATE 1-Brazil's jobless rate rises less than expected in January

jueves 20 de febrero de 2014 08:34 GYT

(Adds background on wages, workforce)

By Silvio Cascione

BRASILIA Feb 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's unemployment rate rose less than expected in January as a continued decline in the number of people looking for work helped offset weaker job creation.

Brazil's non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate climbed to 4.8 percent, up from a record low of 4.3 percent in December, government statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.

The number was below the median forecast of 5.1 percent in a poll of 27 economists. In January 2013, Brazil's jobless rate stood at 5.4 percent.

The so-called economically active population, or the number of people either employed or actively seeking work, dropped 0.8 percent from a year before in the six major metropolitan areas surveyed, its fourth straight decline.

Economists say a shrinking workforce is the reason why Brazil's jobless rate has remained around record lows even as the economy flirts with recession.

Years of steady growth in household income have allowed an increasing number of Brazilians to leave work and instead attend university and professional training courses. That is helping offset the impact a slower pace of hiring in some sectors, as shown by Labor Ministry data in recent months.

The number of Brazilians with jobs dropped 0.9 percent from December to 23.1 million. It was unchanged from January 2013.   Continuación...