The number of unemployed persons jumped by 100 thousand to 5.98 million from 5.88 nillion in the fourth quarter of 2017. Employment grew by 207 thousand to 16.38 million from 16.17 million in the prior period. Jobs gains occurred in formal sector (111 thousand), informal (93 thousand) and in private household (5 thousand) while losses were recorded in agriculture (-3 thousand).
The labour force edged up by 307 thousand to 22.36 million from 22.05 million in the fourth quarter and those detached from it declined by 154 thousand to 15.32 million from 15.47 million.
The expanded definition of unemployment, including people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 36.7 percent in the first quarter of the year from 36.3 percent in the previous quarter.
A year earlier, the jobless rate was higher at 27.7 percent.