Brazil's unemployment rate rises to 14.2%

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Unemployment in Brazil rose in January for the first time in four months, figures showed on Wednesday, kicking off the year back above 14% as job growth failed to keep pace with the number of people returning to the labor market to look for work.

The 14.2% jobless rate in the three months to January was slightly higher than the 14.1% median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, inching back up towards the record 14.6% in the three months to September. It was up from 13.9% in the final quarter of 2020.

Figures from statistics agency IBGE showed that the number of Brazilians officially unemployed in the three months to January rose slightly to 14.3 million from 14.1 million in the three months to October, and up 20% from a year ago.

Some 86 million Brazilians had work, up 2% or 1.7 million people from the August-October period, although still down 8.6% or 8.1 million people from the same period a year earlier.

The workforce stood at 100.3 million people, up 2% or 1.9 million from the three months through October, and the number of people out of the workforce entirely fell by 1.1% to 76.4 million, IBGE said.

The under-employment rate fell to 29% from 29.5% in the August-October period, IBGE said.

Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Alex Richardson