The Brazilian Economy Ministry predicts a possible loss of 3 million formal jobs due to the pandemic — although unnamed government sources admit that the real number could reach as many as 5 million. This would be a significantly worse contraction of the labor market than the 2014-2016 crisis. That recession led to 2.9 million job losses. Over the two years since the end of the recession, 2018 and 2019, only 1.2 million new jobs were created.
In Q1 2020, youth unemployment reached 27 percent, a 4.7-percentage-point bump from Q4 2019. The government has admitted that its plan to save jobs — allowing companies to cut wages and hours — has not been effective. “Business owners are not sure whether they will be able to keep jobs moving forward,” said Treasury Secretary Mansueto Almeida.