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UPDATE 1-Brazil jobless rate rises to 5.4 pct in September

Silvio Cascione
Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 11:22 AM ET

* Jobless rate rises to 5.4 pct for month of Sep

* Unemployment slightly above analyst expectations

* Real wages edge higher from previous month

SAO PAULO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Brazil's jobless rate rose slightly in September but continued near record lows, data showed on Thursday, reinforcing the view that Brazil's tight labor market remains well suited to support an economic recovery.

Brazil's jobless rate rose slightly in September to 5.4 percent, up from 5.3 percent in August, the government's statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.

That was the lowest rate for the month since the current data series was introduced in 2001. In the same month a year ago, Brazil's jobless rate stood at 6.0 percent.

It also remains close to an all-time low of 4.7 percent hit in December.

September's unemployment rate had been expected to be 5.3 percent, according to the median forecast of 31 economists surveyed by Reuters.

Last month, the number of Brazilians with jobs in the six major metropolitan areas surveyed rose 0.9 percent from August to 23.2 million people, up 2.3 percent from the year-ago period.

The tally of people who unsuccessfully looked for work remained stable in September from August at 1.3 million. The figure fell 8.6 percent from a year earlier.

Real wages, or salaries discounted for inflation, rose 0.1 percent month-on-month to an average of 1,771.20 reais ($875), gaining 4.3 percent from the year-earlier month.

Rising wages will likely help support Brazil's economic recovery in coming quarters. The world's sixth largest economy, which nearly slipped into recession late last year, is expected to grow by 4 percent in 2013.

Manufacturing, which has suffered in the past few years with the global economic slowdown, has led a recovery in payroll job growth in September after months of tax incentives and cheap credit offered by President Dilma Rousseff's government.

Factories, farms and retailers added a net 150,334 payroll jobs in September, the Labor Ministry said, well above the 100,938 posted in August.

Brazil's jobless rate has remained very low despite the recent economic slowdown, contrasting with the United States and many European countries. Spain, hit by a deep recession, saw its unemployment rate soar to 24.6 percent in the second quarter.

Many economists say the reason behind the resilience of Brazil's unemployment rate may be its rigid labor laws, which make it very expensive to fire workers. Another reason may be the slow growth in Brazil's workforce recently.

Low unemployment has fueled concerns over inflation next year though, as services prices rise faster than other costs.

Estimates for the data ranged from 5.0 percent to 5.4 percent.