Brazil joblessness slips, wages edge higher

Jobless rate at 6.2 per cent in June
By Rodrigo Viga Gaier
||Last Updated: 07/20/2011

SAO PAULO (Reuters) 

Joblessness in Brazil fell in June, underscoring the tightness in a labour market that has pressured inflation and worried policymakers.

Brazil's jobless rate dipped to 6.2 per cent in June from a previously-reported 6.4 per cent in May, the government's statistics agency said.

That was the country's lowest unemployment rate since January.

The unemployment rate had been expected to dip to 6.1 per cent, according to the median forecast of 18 economists surveyed by Reuters. The estimates ranged from 5.9 per cent to 6.3 per cent.

Last year, Brazil's unemployment rate notched a series of record lows and has stayed tight since. The low unemployment rates helped boost salaries, as employers especially sought workers with higher levels of education and technical skills.

That, in turn, has fanned worries of speeding inflation, with the consumer price index above target for three months in a row now.

The central bank has raised interest rates four times this year by a cumulative 150 basis points to try to rein in inflation, and analysts expect the bank to raise rates again this week to 12.5 per cent from 12.25 per cent.

Last month, the number of Brazilians with jobs in the six major metropolitan areas surveyed edged down 0.17 per cent to 22.39 million people but rose 2.3 per cent from the year-ago period, said the government statistics agency.

The tally of people who unsuccessfully looked for work fell three per cent in June from May to 1.476 million. The figure sank 10.4 per cent from one year earlier.

Real wages, or salaries discounted for inflation, rose 0.5 per cent month-on-month.

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