July 23, 2020 / 5:00 PM / 15 days ago

A million fewer Brazilians in work in June, survey shows

BRASILIA, July 23 (Reuters) - The number of Brazilians in work fell in June by a million and the share of working-age people with a job hit a new low, figures on Thursday showed, a counterpoint to some recent indicators that suggested the labor market is emerging from the worst of the COVID-19 crisis.

The household survey from government statistics agency IBGE was conducted by telephone and is the first to be published under the recently-created ‘Experimental Statistics’ seal. Official IBGE unemployment data for the three months to June will be released next week.

But the key findings suggest the squeeze on workers remains tight, even though the economy is reopening, fewer employees are being left without any income at all, and the number of people out of the workforce entirely dipped.

The figures showed that 83.4 million Brazilians were in work in June, down 1.1% from 84.4 million in May. With a working-age population of 170.1 million, that meant 49% of working age Brazilians had a job, down from 49.7% in May, IBGE said.

May was the first time that less than half of the country’s working-age population had a job.

Meanwhile, the number of people in the workforce but without a job jumped 16.6% to 11.8 million in June from 10.1 million in May, IBGE said. That pushed the unemployment rate up to 12.4% from 10.7%, IBGE said.

On the other hand, the number of Brazilians out of the workforce completely dipped 0.6% to 74.9 million in June, while the number of people who received no wage or salary at all due to being forced to stay home fell to 7.1 million from 9.7 million in May, IBGE said.

Reporting by Jamie McGeever Editing by Marguerita Choy

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