(Adds data on wages, number of unemployed; background)
By Silvio Cascione
BRASILIA, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Brazil’s jobless rate rose unexpectedly in October to a six-year high, government data showed on Thursday, adding further evidence of the severity of country’s recession.
Brazil’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose in October to 7.9 percent, the highest since August 2009, statistics agency IBGE said. The median forecast in a Reuters poll of 21 economists projected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged from September at 7.6 percent.
Unemployment touched a record low of 4.3 percent in December 2014 after years of steady economic growth, but hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost since then as the economy fell into a sharp recession. Many analysts warn the jobless rate could reach 10 percent next year.
Salaries have also fallen sharply, reducing the purchasing power of consumers and dragging further on economic growth.
Wages discounted for inflation fell 0.6 percent from September and 7.0 percent from October 2014, IBGE said, to an average of 2,182.10 reais ($581.09) per month.
The number of Brazilians with jobs in the six major metropolitan areas surveyed by IBGE fell 1.0 percent from October 2014 to 22.5 million. The tally of people who unsuccessfully looked for work jumped 67.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.9 million.
Brazil’s economy is expected to shrink more than 3 percent this year and 2 percent in 2016, in the longest expected downturn for Latin America’s biggest country since the 1930s.
The cooling of Brazil’s job market has not yet helped the central bank control inflation. Consumer prices rose more than 10 percent in the 12 months to mid-November, more than double the government’s target.
$1 = 3.7552 Brazilian reais Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Angus MacSwan and W Simon