(Updates throughout with context, details)
By Bruno Federowski
SAO PAULO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Rising informal employment pushed Brazil’s jobless rate down for a sixth straight month in September, suggesting the labor market recovery remains on track despite a run of weaker economic data.
The unemployment rate, when calculated on a rolling three-month basis, declined to an average of 12.4 percent last month, down from 12.6 percent in August, government statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday.
The result confirmed the expectations of economists polled by Reuters, with the number of unemployed Brazilians falling below 13 million for the first time since January. The jobless rate hit a record high in March.
The latest reading could ease concerns about a sluggish recovery in Latin America’s largest economy after weak retail sales and economic activity data in August.
Increased strength in the labor market is unlikely to stoke inflation, however, or change expectations the central bank will cut interest rates to an all-time low. Formal employment remains stagnant and wages are flat when adjusted for inflation.
Informal workers avoid a heavy tax burden on their salaries but are not entitled to many benefits.
Falling unemployment coupled with slow inflation has boosted household spending and supported Brazil’s recovery from its deepest recession on record. Still, economists see the jobless rate easing gradually. (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Paul Simao)