February 28, 2020 / 1:57 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's jobless rate rises, but increase less than expected

(Adds details throughout on jobless statistics)

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Brazil’s jobless rate rose by 0.2 percentage points in the three months through January, government statistics agency IBGE said on Friday, a slightly smaller increase than expected by the market.

According to IBGE, Brazil’s jobless rate increased to 11.2% in the three months through January, from 11.0% in the three months through December. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected unemployment to rise to 11.3%.

While the nation now has 11.9 million people classified as unemployed, that rise in joblessness was the slowest registered in the three month period ending in January since 2016.

“The labor market opened 2020 in better shape than in previous years,” said Adriana Beringuy, an IBGE analyst.

In 2019, informal work helped keep a lid on unemployment, though the number of workers with formal paperwork ticked up to kick off 2020.

In the three months through January, 33.711 million workers had formal paperwork versus 33.688 million in the October through December period. (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro and Camila Moreira in Sao Paulo; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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