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PNAD Contínua

Unemployment rises to 12.4%, underutilized population is the largest since 2012

Section: Social Statistics | Rodrigo Paradella

March 29, 2019 09h00 AM | Last Updated: March 29, 2019 11h31 AM

Brazil has 13.1 million unemployed persons in quarter ended in February - Photo: Pedro Ventura/Brasília Agency

According to the Continuous National Household Sample Survey - Continuous PNAD, released today by the IBGE, the unemployment rate stayed at 12.4% in the quarter ended in February, above the index of 11.6% registered in the period ended in November.

The increase represented the entrance of 892 thousand persons in the unemployed population, adding up to 13.1 million workers in this condition. The compound underutilization rate of the workforce stayed at 24.6%, adding up to 27.9 million persons, peaking the time series started in 2012.

The group of underutilized workers gathers those unemployed, those underemployed with less than 40 weekly hours and those available to work, but cannot look for a job for several reasons.


“Unemployment rose once again, yet it is not the highest one in the time series. The highest one had been 13.2% in this very same quarter in 2017. It was expected to increase, a normal movement in the beginning of the year", explained Cimar Azeredo, IBGE´s coordinator of Labor and Income.

"The employed population fell by 1.06 million persons, being 1.02 million only of employees. The private sector lost 496 thousand employed persons, whereas the public sector lost 453 thousand", complemented him.

The number of discouraged persons hit 4.9 million, also a record in the time series, as well as the percentage of discouraged persons (4.4%). They were more 275 thousand persons in this condition in relation to the same quarter last year.

"Given that the unemployment reached such a low level, this also feeds the discouragement. Those persons are not in a position to look for a job", explained Azeredo.

Concerning the activity groups, Public administration, defense, social security, education, human health and social services (15.9 million persons), Industry (11.67 million persons) and Construction (6.65 million persons) were the sectors that mostly lost employed persons: less 574 thousand, 198 thousand and 155 thousand persons, respectively, compared with the quarter ended in November. On the other hand, the sector of Transportation, storage and mailing (4.8 million persons) was the only one with an increase in the employed population (more 133 thousand persons).

"The loss in the group of Public administration, defense, social security, education, human health and social services was basically due to education, which lost 470 thousand persons. This process also affects those employed without a formal contract, particularly in construction and industry", concluded Azeredo.

The real monthly average earnings was another indicator that peaked in the time series started in 2012: it stayed at R$2,285, an increase of R$35 over the quarter ended in November.

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