By Silvio Cascione
BRASILIA, March 31 (Reuters) - Brazil’s jobless rate rose more than expected in February to a new record high, government data showed on Friday, with 13.5 million unemployed by the country’s worst recession ever.
The unemployment rate rose to 13.2 percent in the three months through February, statistics agency IBGE said, above market expectations in a Reuters poll of economists for an increase to 13.1 percent.
The unemployment rate is the highest in the current data series started in 2012, IBGE said, up from 12.6 percent in the three months through January.
Unemployment rose despite a small improvement in job creation in February. A separate government report earlier this month showed 35,612 payroll jobs were open in February, in the first month of job creation since March 2015.
Economic activity, however, disappointed in January as retail sales and services activity fell more than expected, central bank data showed on Friday.
The International Labor Organization in a January report forecast Brazil would shed an additional 1.2 million jobs this year, more than a third of all job losses in the world.
Average wages discounted for inflation remained unchanged from a year earlier at 2,068 reais ($655.03) a month.
The number of unemployed people surged 30.6 percent from a year earlier, IBGE said.
$1 = 3.1571 reais Editing by Bernadette Baum