Brazil’s job market appears to be showing signs of life. Even if recovery is still slow, the number of unemployed people has decreased consistently over the last seven months. After reaching 13.1 percent in March, the rate now stands at 11.7 percent. But for Brazilian millennials, the reality is much tougher. With little experience, these young professionals were—in many cases—thrust into the job market earlier than they should have been, as unemployment reached their parents. Between 2012 and 2017, unemployment rates among millennials have doubled.
A new study by the Institute of Applied Economics Research (Ipea) shows that things are even worse than what meets the eye. Ipea analyzed millennials in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. In Brazil, 23 percent of them are neither working nor studying, earning them the moniker “Neither-Nor.” In the rest of the world, this slice of the population goes by the acronym “NEET,” that is, a young person who is “Not in Education, Employment, or Training.” This group usually made up of underprivileged youngsters and women.
Unlike the general perception, these young people are not lazy or unproductive. About a third of them are seeking employment (especially young men), and 64 percent have to help their families to take care of their siblings (especially women). Nearly all perform domestic chores or help out in family businesses. In Brazil, only about 10 percent of millennials fit the “true” NEET definition, not performing any of the aforementioned duties. In all countries, and Brazil is no exception, teen pregnancy prevails among the Neither-Nor millennials.