Brazil Unemployment rate falls for first time since 2014

This comes amid expectations that Latin America's biggest economy is finally emerging from its worst recession in history.

  • Published: , Refreshed:
Brazilian President Michel Temer, seen here at an investment forum in Sao Paulo, is banking on austerity measures to end the country's deep two-year-old recession play

Brazilian President Michel Temer, seen here at an investment forum in Sao Paulo, is banking on austerity measures to end the country's deep two-year-old recession

(AFP)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

Brazil's sickly economy got an unexpected glimmer of good news Wednesday with unemployment figures showing a slight dip to 13.6 percent rather than yet another record rise.

It was the first fall in unemployment figures since 2014 and came amid expectations that Latin America's biggest economy is finally emerging from its worst recession in history.

The IBGE state statistics office said that 14 million people were out of work in the February-April period, or 13.6 percent of the workforce. While still a huge number, the announcement at least put a stop to what had been a relentless series of increases.

With the March rate at 13.7 percent, amounting to 14.2 million unemployed, economists had been bracing for another hike to 13.9 percent, according to a forecast from Gradual Investimentos.

The marginally better situation will boost President Michel Temer's attempt to stay in office despite a raging corruption scandal.

The conservative leader faces multiple calls for his resignation and a probe in the Supreme Court that could see him stripped of office over charges of obstruction justice and corruption.

Temer is attempting to rally political support, saying that his program of restoring fiscal responsibility to Brazil and implementing austerity measures is helping to end a two-year recession -- the deepest in the country's history.

On Thursday, gross domestic product figures are due out and analysts expect them to show the economy is finally growing again, after eight consecutive quarters of shrinkage.

Later Wednesday, the Central Bank lowered its key Selic rate again by one full percent.

With inflation falling steadily, the Selic has been slashed from 14.25 percent in October to 10.25 percent Wednesday.

Wednesday's jobless figures may boost slight optimism in Brazil but they cannot mask the brutal realities of the economic downturn. By comparison, unemployment in April last year was 11.2 percent, while back in December 2013 only 6.2 percent were unemployed.

The better numbers "do not yet signify a tendency. The labor market remains very fragile," said Andre Perfeito at Gradual Investimentos.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.