UPDATE 2-Brazil jobless rate dips, labor market still tight
* Brazil's jobless rate edges down to 6.4 pct in April
* Real wages edge lower from March (Adds analysts' comments)
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 26 (Reuters) - Brazil's unemployment rate edged down to 6.4 percent in April from 6.5 percent in March, the latest sign of a tight labor market that is pressuring inflation in Latin America's largest economy.
The jobless rate was the lowest on record for the month of April since the current methodology was adopted in 2002, the government's statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.
The unemployment rate had been expected to slip to 6.4 percent, according to the median forecast of 16 economists surveyed by Reuters. The estimates ranged from 6.3 percent to 6.7 percent.
Economists said that, after seasonal adjustments, the rate was in fact at an historic low.
"This is going to keep complicating the central bank's efforts to cool the economy," said Thais Marzola Zara, chief economist with Rosenberg e Associados consultancy in Sao Paulo.
She estimated the seasonally adjusted rate at 5.9 percent, below a more natural rate of unemployment for the country and likely to stay that way for the rest of the year.
"We would need to slow the economy considerably" to rise to a natural rate of unemployment, she said, adding that it was difficult to peg what that number could be.
Last year, Brazil's unemployment rate notched a series of record lows. The tight market helped boost salaries, as employers especially sought workers with higher levels of education and technical skills.
Last month, the number of Brazilians with jobs in the six major metropolitan areas surveyed was unchanged from March at 22.3 million people, the IBGE said.
The tally of people who unsuccessfully looked for work also held steady from the previous month, at 1.5 million people.
Real wages, or salaries discounted for inflation, slipped 1.8 percent month-on-month to 1.540 reais ($944.80).
The government has used a series of measures to try to brake inflation and bring the country to sustainable growth. President Dilma Rousseff has promised to cut 50 billion reais from the budget in an attempt to cool the economy.
The central bank has also raised interest rates three times so far this year to 12 percent from 10.75 percent at the close of last year, and has noted the potential for a "prolonged" tightening cycle.
Many economists say those measures are still taking effect.
"(T)he Brazilian labor market remains robust and has not yet been impacted by restrictive fiscal, monetary and credit policies," wrote Luciano Rostagno, chief strategist of CM Capital Markets. As those measures gain traction, he wrote, "we continue projecting a gradual slowdown of the labor market along the year."
For the IBGE's jobless report, see: here ($1=1.63 reais) (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Todd Benson and Luciana Lopez, Editing by Kenneth Barry)
- White House reverses, says Obama met uncle and lived with him during law school
- South Africans, some fearful, wake to life without Mandela |
- U.S. television, Twitter, alive with new version of 'Sound of Music'
- RPT-UPDATE 1-Ford leans on global Mustang to burnish overseas image
- Ford leans on global Mustang to burnish overseas image