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LatinNews Regional Monitor: Brazil & Southern Cone - 1 May 2019

In brief: Brazil

* Brazil’s national statistics institute (Ibge) has released the latest unemployment figures which show that the country’s unemployment rate totalled 12.7% in the first quarter of the year, affecting 13.4m people. This represents a decrease on the unemployment rate in January-March 2018, which stood at 13.1%, however it is an increase on the 11.6% unemployment rate of October-December 2018. Cimar Azevedo, Ibge’s work & income coordinator, explains that cyclical employment patterns in the public sector (where short-term employees are dismissed at the beginning of the year) as well as the employment generated by end-of-year events such as Christmas, the ‘Black Friday’ sale and, in the case of last year, elections, explain the 1.1 percentage point increase in unemployment between the final quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. Underemployment for the first three months of 2019 reached 25%, the highest rate since 2012, with 28.3m people underemployed.