Fear of unemployment falls in Brazil even as recession worsens

An employee places a discarded monitor before disassembling it at the Coopermiti warehouse of electronic waste in Sao Paulo March 6, 2013. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Fear of unemployment among Brazilians decreased slightly in December despite a recent surge in job losses, an industry survey showed on Tuesday, in a rare sign of mood improvement as the country sinks into a deep recession.

An index measuring fear of unemployment fell to 102.3 at end-2015 from a near record high of 105.9 in September, according to the survey commissioned by the National Industry Confederation (CNI).

Satisfaction with life also improved slightly, rising to 95.1 in December from 93.9 in September, the survey showed.

CNI said in a statement that it is too early to say both improvements mark the beginning of a more positive trend for sentiment in Brazil, and noted that both indexes remain much worse than their historical averages.

Still, the survey results contrast with economists’ gloomy prospects for the Brazilian economy in 2016. Brazil’s gross domestic product is expected to contract sharply for a second straight year, in the worst such sequence since at least 1901, according to the national economic research institute IPEA.

Satisfaction with life and fear of unemployment were similar across age and income groups, although people with higher education reported to be more worried about losing their jobs than low skilled workers. The improvement compared to the September survey was generalized, though.

Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama