June 27, 2019 / 6:42 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil job growth slows in May, highlighting sluggish economy

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By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA, June 27 (Reuters) - The pace of job growth in Brazil slowed sharply in May from the month before, figures from the Economy Ministry on Thursday showed, further evidence that the labor market and wider economy are struggling to regain any significant momentum.

The economy added a net 33,140 new positions in May, less than half the 73,000 median estimate in a Reuters poll of economists and sharply down from the 129,600 net new jobs created the month before.

The central bank slashed its 2019 economic growth forecast earlier on Thursday to 0.8% from 2.0%, and pointed to the high degree of slack in the labor market as one of the reasons why growth is so subdued.

There are currently over 12 million officially registered unemployed in Brazil. Figures on Friday are expected to show that the unemployment rate fell to a still high 12.3% in the three months to May from 12.5% in the three months to April.

May’s job growth brings the total number of net new jobs created this year to 351,053, up 0.91% on the same period last year, the Economy Ministry said. In the 12 months to May, 474,299 net new jobs have been created, up 1.24% on a year earlier.

Agriculture accounted for the biggest increase, with more than 37,000 new jobs in that sector, followed by 8,459 net new jobs in civil construction, the figures showed. (Reporting by Mateus Maia and Jamie McGeever Editing by James Dalgleish)

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