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LatinNews Daily - 11 March 2021

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In brief: High unemployment affects Brazil unequally

* Brazil’s national statistics institute (Ibge) has released its latest quarterly survey of Brazilian households (PNAD Contínua Trimestral), which presents a breakdown of unemployment per state in 2020. Nationally, Brazil recorded an average 13.5% unemployment rate last year as a consequence of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the highest figure since current records began in 2012. According to the Ibge, 20 of Brazil’s 27 states also saw record levels of unemployment in 2020 – but these varied significantly from state to state. The states with the highest unemployment rate last year were Bahia (19.8%), Alagoas (18.6%), and Sergipe (18.4%) in the Northeast, as well as Rio de Janeiro (17.4%) in the Southeast, while those with the lowest unemployment rate were all in the South: Paraná (9.4%), Rio Grande do Sul (9.1%), and Santa Catarina (6.1%). More generally, the Ibge’s survey exposes the sharp divide between Brazil’s poorer North and Northeast, and the wealthier South and Southeast, with the latter’s labour market suffering far less from impacts of the pandemic (with the exception of Rio de Janeiro).