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article imageUnemployment drops in Brazil to 13.3 percent

By AFP     Jun 30, 2017 in World

Brazil's unemployment rate marked its second straight month of decline in May, according to new figures Friday, falling 0.3 points to 13.3 percent following two and a half years of increases as the country struggles to emerge from a historic recession.

It follows a slight dip in unemployment to 13.6 percent in figures reported by the IBGE state statistics office last month.

The number of people without jobs dropped below last month's 14 million to 13.8 million for May.

While still a huge number, the latest figures surprised analysts and suggest an end to what had been a relentless rise in the number of jobless people.

For comparison, one year ago in May 2016, 11.2 million people -- 11.2 percent of the working age population -- were out of a job.

The Friday figures also give the embattled conservative president, Michel Temer, a brief respite and a modicum of good news.

Temer, who has only seven percent approval ratings, is battling for his political life after being charged with taking bribes. Congress is due to start deliberating on whether to accept the charge, meaning Temer would be put on trial at the Supreme Court.

The center-right president, who has made business friendly economic reforms his priority, says he has enough support in the lower house of Congress to have the charge thrown out.

Analyst Andre Perfeito with Gradual Investimentos said it was too early to talk about a "tendency" toward improvement, as data on economic activity remains unsatisfactory.

"The labor market is showing signs of encouragement... but remains timid," Perfeito said.

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