(Adds data, political context)
BRASILIA, March 24 (Reuters) - The number of jobless Brazilians has risen by almost three million people since last year as Brazil sinks deeper into its worst recession in a generation, according to data released on Thursday by statistics agency IBGE.
The increasing ranks of unemployed have fueled discontent with the unpopular government of President Dilma Rousseff, who is battling to survive impeachment efforts in Congress as a political storm grows over a massive corruption scandal.
The unemployment rate in the three months through January rose to 9.5 percent from 6.8 percent for the same period a year ago, the IBGE said.
The increase was above market expectations in a Reuters poll that projected unemployment of 9.3 percent.
The number of people out of work by the end of January rose to 9.6 million, an increase of 2.8 million or 42.4 percent from a year earlier, both record numbers for the IBGE’s household unemployment survey.
More than 2 million are set to lose unemployment benefits by June, according to data obtained by Reuters, threatening to erode support for Rousseff among her core working class supporters when she needs them most. (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier e Camila Moreira; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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