RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil's unemployment rate has hit a record 14.6 percent as the pandemic slammed Latin America's largest economy, the government reported Friday.
The figure for the July-September period was the third straight record for joblessness in Brazil.A total of 14.1 million workers were seeking jobs, said Brazilian statistics institute IBGE.
Another 5.9 million have given up looking for work -- also a record, and a worrying sign for the economy, reports AFP.
The large number of people who have dropped out of the work force "hides the very fragile reality of the labor market," said Andre Perfeito, of the consultancy Necton.
"If participation in the labor force were the same as last year, the unemployment rate would be 24.12 percent," he said.
Meanwhile, the rate of people working part-time because of a lack of full-time options has risen by 24 percent in a year, to 30.3 percent.
The unemployment rate was up from 11.8 percent during the same quarter last year and 14.4 percent for the June-August period in 2020.The government reports unemployment numbers for rolling three-month periods.
The latest rate was the highest since that system was introduced in 2012. Brazil, Latin America's biggest country, with 212 million people, entered a recession in the second quarter of the year with a record economic contraction of 9.7 percent.
The economy is expected to show a recovery when gross domestic product figures for the third quarter are released next week, but the government is still forecasting a contraction of 4.5 percent for the year.
Brazil has been hit hard by the pandemic, which has killed more than 170,000 people in the country, the second-highest death toll worldwide, after the United States.