According to Reuters, payroll job growth in Brazil’s economy plummeted in February from a year earlier, as a broad economic slowdown forced employers to slow hiring.

Manufacturers, farmers and retailers added a net 150,600 payroll jobs in February, down 57 percent from a year earlier, the Labor Ministry said on Friday.

Economists said slumping industrial employment dragged on overall job creation, as local manufacturers struggle with a strong currency, a scarcity of skilled labor and an unwieldy tax burden. Industrial output contracted three times more than economists expected in January. Brazil added 19,609 manufacturing jobs in February, a third of the manufacturing jobs created in the same month last year.

Stagnating industry slowed economic growth to 2.7 percent last year, adding to concerns Brazil had become complacent after the economy expanded 7.5 percent in 2010. Critics say the government lacks the political will to address the taxes and weak infrastructure that are choking growth.

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