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RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s unemployment rate hit a record 13.8 percent from May to July as Latin America’s biggest economy suffered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to official figures released Wednesday.

The rate is the highest since the data set began in 2012, and two percentage points above the same period last year.

The previous record — 13.7 percent — was registered in the first quarter of 2017, on the back of the worst recession in Brazilian history.

There were 13.1 million people looking for work in July, IBGE said.

The number of people who dropped out of the work force — a sign of how many have given up looking for jobs because of a lack of opportunities — also hit a record, at 5.8 million, a 20-percent increase from the same period last year.

“Besides taking people’s jobs, the pandemic made it difficult to look for work because of stay-at-home measures, business closures and health issues,” said IBGE official Adriana Beringuy.