Brazil’s Jobless Rate Reaches All-Time High in December

  • Brazil’s unemployed population grows to 12.3 million
  • Joblessness has nearly doubled over past three years

Brazil’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to the highest on record at the end of 2016, as a recent drop in borrowing costs has yet to boost Latin America’s largest economy.

The jobless rate was 12 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 11.9 percent in the three months ending in November and compared with 11.8 percent in the third quarter. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated unemployment would remain at 11.9 percent. The series compiled by Brazil’s statistics agency starts in 2012.

Unemployment has nearly doubled over the past three years, weighing on consumer confidence even as inflation slows. In a bid to revive Latin America’s largest economy, the central bank has stepped up the pace monetary easing, and lower rates are expected to help the economic recovery this year. Joblessness will remain a thorny issue for the government, however, particularly as President Michel Temer pushes a sweeping pension reform through Congress.

The combination of elevated inflation and rising unemployment has hurt consumer spending, which shrank in each of the seven quarters through September last year.

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