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Brazil's jobless rate falls

Brazil's jobless rate fallsRio de Janeiro, Feb 1 - Brazil's average unemployment rate last year came in at 5.5 percent, the lowest level since stricter measurement criteria were adopted in 2002, the government said.

The unemployment rate was down more than half from a record high of 12.4 percent in 2003, according to the IBGE statistics agency.

Brazil's jobless figures are extrapolated from data collected in the country's six largest metropolitan areas.

Despite Brazil's economic slowdown in 2012, unemployment came in last month at 4.6 percent, the lowest one-month figure since the current methodology was adopted in March 2002, the IBGE said Thursday.

An average of 1.3 million people were unemployed for all of 2012, down 6.1 percent from 2011 (1.4 million) and 48.7 percent lower than in 2003 (2.6 million).

That means the ranks of the unemployed have declined by 1.3 million over the past decade despite an expanding workforce.

The IBGE also reported that the average monthly Brazilian salary in December was 1,805 reais ($900), 0.9 percent lower than in the previous month but 3.2 percent higher than in December 2011.

Brazil continues to create jobs and salaries keep rising even though the economy is forecast to grow just 1 percent this year, which would be the lowest level since 2009. (IANS)