BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil created more formal jobs than expected in August, official data showed on Thursday, continuing a sequence of positive data that has been fueling the economy.

According to Labor Ministry figures, the net gain reached 278,639 formal jobs in August, above the expected 268,700 in a Reuters poll with economists.

All months this year posted net job expansion, but the August performance came below the 388,267 figure from the same month in 2021, according to a series based on adjusted data.

The government has argued that the booming labor market and the increase in private investment have helped spur economic growth in Latin America’s largest economy this year.

Earlier on Thursday, the central bank improved its forecast for 2022 GDP to a 2.7% growth, from 1.7% earlier, matching the performance expected by the Economy Ministry.

Once again, all five groups of economic activities registered job creation in August, led by the services sector (+141,113), which is strongly recovering after a severe blow from the pandemic.

The average monthly salary of the new jobs created in the month was 1,950 reais ($361.38), up 1.52% from July, the ministry said.

Formally registered workers in Brazil grew by 0.66% to 42.5 million in August. Data do not include the nearly 40 million undocumented workers who do not have formal employment registration in the country.

($1 = 5.3960 reais)

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Editing by Toby Chopra)