January 31, 2020 / 1:04 PM / 17 days ago

Brazil's jobless rate drops to 11.0%, lowest in almost four years

FILE PHOTO: Unemployed women check a board with job opportunities at a job agency in Itaborai March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s jobless rate fell to 11.0% in the three months through December, statistics agency IBGE said on Friday, the lowest in almost four years and further evidence that the labor market continues to steadily improve, albeit gradually.

This was down from 11.2% in the three months to November, exactly line with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, and will likely be welcomed by policymakers as another indication the economy is moving in the right direction.

The number of Brazilians out of work in the three months to December was 11.6 million, down 883,000 people or 7.1% from the preceding quarter, IBGE said. Compared with the same period in 2018, the number of people out of work fell by 520,000, or 4.3%.

The underemployment rate, which hit a record 25% earlier this year, fell 1.1 percentage points to 23.0% from the preceding quarter, and was 0.8 percentage points down from the same period the year before, IBGE said.

It was a similar picture with the number of underemployed workers in Brazil: 26.2 million people, down 1.3 million people or 4.7% from the prior three months, IBGE said, and down 670,000 people from the same period the year before.

Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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