October 30, 2018 / 1:14 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil jobless rate falls in Sept, off-the-books hiring continues

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Brazil’s unemployment rate fell once again in the quarter through September but gains were concentrated in off-the-book jobs, maintaining an outlook for a slow and steady labor market recovery.

The jobless rate slipped to 11.9 percent from 12.4 percent in the quarter ending in June, government statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday, in line with the median forecast in a Reuters survey of economists.

“You can see some improvement in increased headcounts and falling unemployment, but there is a lot of informal employment,” IBGE economist Cimar Azeredo said.

The number of off-the-books workers, who pay no payroll taxes and take in less benefits, rose 4.7 percent from the second quarter, IBGE said, compared with a 0.4 percent increase in private-sector payroll jobs.

This suggests that lower unemployment is unlikely to generate substantial price pressures any time soon, with wages adjusted for inflation remaining flat for over a year. That is likely to keep the central bank from lifting interest rates from all-time lows for the time being. (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Bruno Federowski in Brasilia Editing by Susan Thomas)

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