Brazilian job creation predictor drops in December

job predictor
Construction workers in São Paulo. Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock

The Job Precursor Index (IAEmp), calculated by think tank Fundação Getulio Vargas to anticipate trends in the Brazilian job market, has dropped for the second straight month in December. 

“The deceleration of the economy at the end of 2021 seems to be the main factor for the result, as the pandemic, at this moment, seems to be under control,” wrote Rodolpho Tobler, one of the economists behind the index. 

A surge of coronavirus infections caused by the spread of the Omicron variant, however, raises even more doubts about the Brazilian economy. The average of new daily cases is now almost 12,400 — a jump of 318 percent over the past 14 days.

While Omicron cases have typically been less severe than those caused by previous versions of the coronavirus, a new wave could nevertheless saturate health systems, especially with unvaccinated patients. Moreover, it could disrupt businesses by placing large amounts of workers on medical leave.

The Brazilian association of bars and restaurants, for instance, said that infections have slashed their active staff numbers by 25 to 30 percent across the sector. A new wave could also lead consumers to hold on to their cash and spend less money.