(Adds breakdown by sector, 12-month data)
BRASILIA, March 18 (Reuters) - Brazil’s economy shed jobs for a third straight month in February, government data showed on Wednesday, in another setback for President Dilma Rousseff as the nation’s once-booming job market rapidly loses steam.
Factories, farms and services companies in Brazil shed a net 2,415 jobs in February, the labor ministry said, missing a Reuters poll forecast for a net 20,000 hirings.
That was the worst result for February since 1999. In the 12 months through February, Brazil’s economy has shed a net 47,228 jobs, with net job losses in four of the past five months.
The rapid deterioration of Brazil’s job market underscores expectations that Latin America’s largest economy is slipping into its worst recession in a quarter century. It is also a major blow to Rousseff, who narrowly won re-election in October thanks in large part to low unemployment.
Since then, her popularity has plunged to a record low, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
Job losses were strong in retail and construction, where the recent economic slowdown has been particularly sharp after last decade’s rapid growth rates. In both sectors, layoffs totaled 59,280, the government said.
Manufacturers added a net 2,001 jobs, while services companies hired a net 52,261 workers last month. (Reporting by Luciana Otoni; Writing by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Peter Galloway and Bernard Orr)