By Jamie McGeever
BRASILIA, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Brazilian manufacturing expanded at a record pace in September, a survey of purchasing managers' activity showed on Thursday, extending a recovery from the worst of the COVID-19 crisis as employment growth hit a decade high and export orders rose for the first time in a year.
IHS Markit's headline Brazil manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 64.9 in September from 64.7 in August, the highest level since the index was first compiled in February 2006.
A reading above 50.0 marks expansion in the sector, while a reading below signifies contraction.
This is the latest indicator to show the strength of the rebound in Brazilian manufacturing and industry compared with the continued weakness in the dominant services sector, which is still contracting and shedding jobs.
Of 30 countries' manufacturing PMIs tracked by economists at HSBC, Brazil's headline index and employment index were the highest of all, they said in a report last week.
"Survey participants reported near-record expansions in new orders and production, alongside a return to growth of export sales," IHS Markit said in its report. "Companies stepped up hiring and purchasing activity, with optimism towards future output also strengthening."
Among the notable sub-index PMI readings for August, employment rose to 56.5 from 56.3, the highest since February, 2010.
The new orders index dipped to 70.0 from 70.8, but that still showed solid growth and was the second highest in the series.
Lifted by the Brazilian currency's 30% slide against the dollar so far this year, the new export orders index rose to 53.9 from 46.2, marking the first growth in exports since August last year.
But the weak exchange rate also helped fuel a rise in the input prices index to a record high 87.2 from 86.7 in August, while the output prices index also rose to a new high of 76.6 from 69.7 in August.
(Reporting by Jamie McGeever Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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