By Luciana Otoni
BRASILIA Jan 21 Brazil's economy added the
fewest net payroll jobs in a decade last year, a sign that three
consecutive years of weak economic growth had weighed down
profit margins and hiring at shops and services firms,
government data showed on Tuesday.
Excluding seasonal adjustments, farms, industrial factories
and retail firms created a net 730,687 payroll jobs in 2013, the
smallest number since 2003, the labor ministry said. Taking into
account the impact of seasonal adjustments, the economy created
a net 1.17 million jobs - also the worst in a decade.
Speaking at a news conference in Brasilia, Labor Minister
Manoel Dias forecast a recovery in seasonally adjusted net job
creation to between 1.4 million and 1.5 million payroll
positions this year.
Part of the recovery in job creation, Dias noted, will stem
from a surge in investment projects that were announced last
year but whose construction will begin in 2014.
The pace of job creation in Latin America's largest economy
has lost momentum since 2011, when President Dilma Rousseff took
office on a platform of slashing borrowing costs and doubling
economic expansion rates. With inflation stubbornly high and
consumer confidence waning, economists have been cutting their
forecasts for economic growth in 2014 over the past few months
to around 2 percent.
Despite the slowdown in job creation, Brazil's unemployment
rate remains around record lows as more Brazilians
leave the labor force temporarily to dedicate time to education
In December, the economy shed a net 449,444 jobs
, in line with market expectations, the ministry
Economists had expected the economy to lose 456,000
positions last month, according to the median forecast of 10
respondents surveyed. Brazilian companies usually hire temporary
workers for the holiday shopping season, laying them off before
the end of the year.