Brazilian unemployment continues to dip -- slowly

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) –


Brazil's unemployment misery eased further in June, dipping to 12.4 percent, according to government statistics Tuesday, although much of the improvement was credited to creation of less secure jobs.

The rate for the three-month period between April and June means there are still 13 million people out of work.

However, it was the third consecutive reduction in unemployment, falling from 12.7 percent in the March to May period. Analysts had expected only a more modest fall to 12.6 percent.

During the same period last year, unemployment in Latin America's biggest economy reached 13 percent, with nearly 13.5 million without work.

The latest improvement comes despite a truckers' strike in May that brought the country to a halt for almost two weeks.

However, a significant part of the positive trend is due to growing numbers of people finding work in the informal sector, where workers have far fewer rights and job security, the IBGE statistics office said.

Last week, the central bank revised downward its prediction for economic growth this year in Brazil to 1.6 percent. In March, the forecast had been for 2.6 percent GDP growth.

The numbers confirm a steady but still stubbornly weak recovery from Brazil's deepest recession on record, which saw the economy shrink 3.5 percent both in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, there was one percent growth.

Uncertainty over presidential elections in October and widespread discontent over a rolling corruption scandal in big business and high-level politics have added to the gloomy investor climate.