(Recasts to change dateline, add details on wages and
By Silvio Cascione
BRASILA, March 27 Brazil's jobless rate rose
slightly in February but remained low compared to the same month
a year before, indicating a tight labor market that continued to
lend support to a flagging economy while fueling inflation
Brazil's non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate
rose in February to 5.1 percent, up from 4.8 percent in January,
the government statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.
The number was in line with the median forecast of 5.1
percent in a poll of 27 economists. In February 2013, Brazil's
jobless rate stood at 5.6 percent.
Brazil's jobless rate remains one of the lowest among major
economies despite weak economic growth, helping support for
President Dilma Rousseff as she seeks re-election in October.
The number of Brazilians with jobs remained unchanged from
January and from a year earlier at 23 million. The number of
people who failed to find a job increased 6.9 percent from
January but dropped 8.3 percent from a year earlier to 1.2
million people, IBGE said.
Inflation-adjusted wages rose 3.1 percent from February 2013
to an average of 2,015.60 reais ($875) a month. That was 0.8
percent higher than in January.
A shrinking workforce is a key reason why Brazil's jobless
rate has remained low even as the economy has struggled to grow
since 2011, economists say.
The so-called economically active population, or the number
of people either employed or actively seeking work, dropped 0.5
percent from a year before in the six major metropolitan areas
surveyed, its fifth straight decline.
A main reason is the combination of Brazil's aging
population with its recent progress on education, which has kept
an increasing number of teenagers and young adults out of the
labor force to dedicate more time to training.
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
IBGE plans to introduce changes to the current labor market
survey in 2015, such as the use of a broader quarterly survey
including data from more than 3,000 cities.
($1 = 2.3025 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier, Writing by Silvio Cascione;
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Stephen Powell)