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By Silvio Cascione
BRASILIA, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Brazil’s jobless rate rose in August to its highest in six months despite stronger job creation, adding to signs that the economic recession is eroding a robust labor market.
Brazil’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 5.0 percent in August, up from 4.9 percent in July, statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.
It was the first release of official unemployment numbers after a strike disrupted the job market survey for months.
August’s jobless rate topped the median forecast of 4.9 percent in a poll of 11 economists. In August 2013, Brazil’s jobless rate stood at 5.3 percent.
Brazil’s economy slipped into recession in the first half of the year, prompting many companies from manufacturers to retailers to trim payrolls. Job creation recovered slightly in August from July, but remained well below the average of the past decade, according to government data.
The state of Brazil’s job market is an important theme in the ongoing presidential election campaign. President Dilma Rousseff, who is running for re-election, has boasted that unemployment remains one of the world’s smallest in Brazil. Her opponents have said Rousseff’s policies will ultimately lead to an increase in joblessness.
The so-called economically active population, or the number of people either employed or actively seeking work, rose 0.9 percent from July, outpacing job creation.
The number of Brazilians with jobs rose 0.8 percent from July to 23.1 million. It remained unchanged from August last year. The number of people who failed to find a job stayed unchanged July and from August 2013, at 1.2 million.
The unemployment rate as calculated by the IBGE tallies jobs in the formal sector, where employees are legally registered, as well as off-the-books jobs in the informal sector in Brazil’s six major urban areas.
Inflation-adjusted wages rose 2.5 percent from August 2013 to an average of 2,055.50 reais ($855) a month. That was 1.7 percent higher than in July.
($1 = 2.4040 Brazilian reais)
Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Silvio Cascione; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Chizu Nomiyama