Brazil's jobless rate hits six-year low for quarter through February

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Women look at job listings posted on a light pole in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

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BRASILIA, March 31 (Reuters) - Brazil's jobless rate stood at 11.2% in the three months through February, statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday, the lowest level for the period in six years, amid a drop in the number of people seeking employment.

The rate showed no change from the three months through January, and was down four-tenths of a percentage point from the September 2021-November 2021 period.

A Reuters poll of economists had projected that the unemployment rate would be 11.4% in the three months through the end of February.

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IBGE researcher Adriana Beringuy noted that the number of employed people was stable compared to the previous three-month period, which may indicate the resumption of a pattern seen before the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to IBGE, the number of officially unemployed Brazilians in this period reached 12 million people, 3.1% lower than the previous three-month period and down 19.5% from the same period last year.

The average monthly pay of 2,511 reais ($529) for workers was unchanged from the previous three months, but fell 8.8% compared to the same period in 2021. It was also the lowest level for the three months through February since the series started in 2012, according to IBGE, indicating the labor market recovery has been centered in lower-income occupations.

The Economy Ministry has emphasized that job creation will underpin economic growth this year. But private economists continue to project that Brazil's economy, the largest in Latin America, will expand well below official government estimates.

($1 = 4.7466 reais)

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Reporting by Marcela Ayres Editing by Paul Simao

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