* Feb unemployment up to 5.6 pct from 5.4 pct in Jan
* Real wages up 1.2 pct from January
By Asher Levine
SAO PAULO, March 28 Brazil's unemployment rate
rose slightly in February but remained near a record low, the
latest sign of a tight job market that is stoking inflation as
the government struggles to rein in rising consumer prices.
Government data released on Thursday showed Brazil's jobless
rate rose in February to 5.6 percent from 5.4
percent in January.
The number was slightly below the median forecast of 5.7
percent in a Reuters survey of 21 economists. The estimates
ranged from 5.5 percent to 6.0 percent.
Brazil's jobless rate is not seasonally adjusted and usually
rises in the first months of the year as businesses lay off
temporary workers following the holiday season.
Unemployment is still near record lows in Brazil, with the
tight labor market in some areas contributing to inflation
pressure. Brazil's central bank earlier on Thursday raised its
inflation forecasts for 2013 and 2014, reaffirming previous
signals that an interest rate hike could be on its way this
The report from government statistics agency IBGE showed
that the number of Brazilians with jobs in the six major
metropolitan areas fell 0.7 percent from January to 23 million
people. The number rose 1.6 percent in February from the same
month a year earlier.
The number of people who unsuccessfully looked for work was
little changed from January and the year earlier at 1.4 million.
Real wages, or salaries discounted for inflation, rose 1.2
percent from January to an average of 1,849.50 reais ($924.75) a
month. They rose 2.4 percent from the year-earlier period.
The unemployment rate, as calculated by the IBGE, tallies
jobs in the formal sector, where employers are legally
registered, as well as off-the books jobs in the so-called