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Brazil creates more jobs, but unemployment still goes up

. Sep 30, 2020
jobs Unemployment continues to rise as Brazil reopens Store in Recife. Photo: Bruno Concha/Secom

According to Brazil’s latest National Household Sample Survey (PNAD-COVID), the country’s official unemployment rate rose to 13.8 percent late in July — meaning 13.1 million Brazilians are currently out of work. 

Between May and July, it is estimated that at least 7.2 million jobs were cut.

The report states that this is the highest unemployment rate on record, since the current time series began in 2012. As data journalist Aline Gatto Boueri showed on The Brazilian Report, the number of Brazilians out of a job continues to go up as the economy reopens

The official unemployment rate accounts only for those who are actively seeking jobs, but millions of people stopped looking for a new position during the pandemic out of health fears or believing no jobs would be available. As isolation loosens, many of these people have returned to look for work, joining the statistics as officially unemployed.

Back in February, just before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, Brazil’s unemployment rate sat at 12.8 percent.

Formal jobs

Also today, the Economy Ministry released a new report on formal jobs, showing that Brazil had a positive balance of nearly 250,000 new formal positions opened in August. This was the best result for the month since 2010 — and the first time since the beginning of the pandemic in which the services sector hired more people than it fired.

These numbers help explain why confidence in Brazil’s short-term economic outlook has improved among industry and commerce companies, returning to pre-pandemic levels. However, business owners are uncertain about 2021, as the government’s emergency salary program is set to end after December.

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Lucas Berti

Lucas Berti covers international affairs — specialized in Latin American politics and markets. He has been published by Opera Mundi, Revista VIP, and The Intercept Brasil, among others.

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