Brazil shreds 266,000 jobs in December

Brazil shreds 266,000 jobs in December
Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

The Brazilian formal job market lost 265,811 jobs in December, a far worse showing than one year previous. 

And the rapid spread of the Omicron variant could continue pushing job growth numbers down. Vast numbers of Brazilians missed work this month due to coronavirus infections, which could reduce the rate of new hires.

Still, the government tried to put a positive spin on the announcement, saying the country added 2.7 million formal jobs in 2021. That assessment, however, must be taken with a grain of salt. 

In 2020, the government changed the methodology of the General Register of Employed and Unemployed Persons (Caged). Experts say the database is now less accurate and more opaque. Last year, for instance, the Labor Ministry revised job creation numbers for 2020 on two separate occasions, bringing them from a positive 143,000 to a negative 191,500.

Most sectors of the economy lost jobs in December:

  • Agriculture: -26,073
  • Industry: -92,047
  • Construction: -52,033
  • Retail: +9,013
  • Services: -104,670

On a slightly positive note, the average entry-level wage rose somewhat, from BRL 1,791.83 to 1,793.34 (USD 334.40 to 334.68).

According to the government’s official statistics agency, the country’s unemployment rate sits at 11.6 percent, the lowest since the pandemic started.