May 22, 2014, 08:37:00 AM EDT

RIO DE JANEIRO–Brazil’s official unemployment rate fell in April to the lowest level on record for that month, as companies and government agencies held onto workers even amid a sluggish economy.

The unemployment rate in six of Brazil’s largest metropolitan areas fell last month to 4.9% from 5% in March and 5.8% in April 2013, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, or IBGE, said Thursday.

Demographic factors continued to play a role, as fewer of the 43.3 million working-age people in the six cities characterized themselves as “economically active,” the IBGE said.

Average monthly salaries stood at 2,028 Brazilian reais ($917). That was down 0.6% from March but up 2.6% from April 2013.