* Brazil adds 209,425 payroll jobs in February
* Second straight month of gains, underscores recovery (Recasts, adds details, context)
BRASILIA, March 17 (Reuters) - Brazil’s economy added jobs for the second straight month in February, creating a hefty 209,425 payroll positions as companies ramped up hiring amid a strong economic recovery, the government said on Wednesday.
The number was a record for the month of February, a holiday-shortened month because of annual Carnival festivities around that country.
In January, Latin America’s largest economy added 181,419 payroll positions, also a record for that month. So far this year, 390,844 payroll jobs have been created in Brazil.
Most of Brazil’s workforce is not registered with the labor ministry and belongs to a vast informal economy. The government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is seeking to increase the number of payroll jobs in the country.
The government had anticipated stronger net payroll job creation in February than in January, Labor Minister Carlos Lupi said last month. [ID:nSPG002744]
Brazil became among the first countries to come out of the global financial crisis in 2009 and is expected to grow 5.45 percent this year, according to the latest weekly central bank survey. (Reporting by Isabel Versiani; Writing by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Diane Craft)