Continuous PNAD

Unemployment average decreases to 11.9% in 2019; informal work reaches its peak in 4 years

Section: Social Statistics | Carmen Nery

January 31, 2020 09h00 AM | Last Updated: January 31, 2020 05h06 PM


Informal work is a reality for 41.1% of the employed population, on average, in 2019 - Photo: Licia Rubinstein/IBGE News Agency

The average unemployment rate fell from 12.3% in 2018 to 11.9% in2019, the second decrease in a row, according to the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (Continuous PNAD), released today (31) by the IBGE. The survey reports a total the existence of a total 12.6 million unemployed persons, last year, 1.7% less than in 2018. Nevertheless, in comparison with the same position in the series, when it reached 6.8 million in 2014, the unemployed rate almost doubled, having increased 87.7% in five years. 

Informal work – encompassing workers without a formal contract, domestic workers without a formal contract, employers without a CNPJ* registration, self-employed workers and auxiliary family workers - reached 41.1% of the employed population, the highest figure since 2016, in spite of the stability against 2018. “There was an increase by 0.3 percentage points and one million persons”, says the Continuous PNAD analyst, Adriana Beringuy.

Brazil has 11.6 million workers without a formal contract in the private sector, except domestic workers – with an increase of 4% against 2018 and the highest level in the time series initiated in 2012. The number of self-employed workers reached its peak in the series, having increased to 24.2 million, being most of them (19.3 million) without a CNPJ registration. That figure also represents an increase of 3.9 million persons since 2012. In comparison with 2018, there was an increase of 4.1% (958 thousand).

These data show that despite the slight increase in the number of works with a formal contract, with an expansion of 1.1% due to the opening of 356 thousand vacancies – interrupting the downward trend observed between 2015 and 2018 – it was not followed by informality indicators from 2018 to 2019. From the increase of 1.8 million in the number of Jobs, 446 thousand were positions without a formal contract; and most of them, 958 thousand, are self-employed workers, 586 of which do not have a CNPJ registration.

The number of domestic workers reached 6.3 million, having remained practically stable in relation to the estimate of 2018 (6.2 million). However, the number of persons with a formal contract fell 3%, from 1,819 million to 1,764 million, whereas the number of persons without a formal contract remained stable, amounting to 4.5 million.

The number of employers amounted to 4.4 million in 2019, being stable in comparison with 2018, but representing an increase of 24.5%, against the beginning of the series, in 2012. “That increase occurred, mainly, in the group of small employers. From the total, 3.6 million had a CNPJ, whereas 832 thousand did not have that record in 2019”, says Adriana Beringuy.

Another highlight is the underutilized population in the workforce – including unemployed persons, time-related underemployed persons or in the potential workforce – which reached 27.6 million in 2019, the highest figure in the series and 79.3% above the lowest level (15.4 million), registered in 2014.

Among the groups of activities, transportation, other services, lodging and storage, construction and domestic services recorded the smallest levels of participation in the series. But construction recorded, in 2019, a change in the retraction movement, amounting to 6.7 million workers. Agriculture and industry remained stable with 8.5 million and 17.7 million workers, respectively. The biggest increased were those of transportation (4.6%), information and communication (4.1%) and other services (3.9%).

Jobs with a formal contract advanced in Q4

In the end of the last quarter of 2019, the unemployment rate fell to 11%, with a reduction by 883 thousand persons – and a total 11.6 persons more -, against the quarter July-September 2019, when unemployment was estimated at 12.5 million persons, that is, 11.8%. That is the lowest rate in the quarter ended December, since 2015, when it reached 8.9%.

The period also recorded a decrease in the comparison with the same quarter in the previous year, when the rate was estimated at 11.6%, a decrease by 520 thousand unemployed persons.

The main highlight was the increase of 1.8% in the number of workers with a formal contract in the private sector, against the previous quarter, having reached 33.7 million, whereas the number of workers without a formal contract remained stable, with 11.9 million. In comparison with the quarter October-December 2018, there was an increase of 2.2% in the number of workers with a formal contract (increase by 726 thousand persons); and of 3.2%, in the number of workers without a formal contract, meaning an estimated increase by 367 thousand persons.

“There was a significant increase of employment with a formal contract, with expansion of 1.8%, which had not been observed since the beginning of the series, in 2012. Although the increase in Q4 is one of the biggest in the series, the amount of 33.7 million is about 3 million below the record of the series, of 2014, 36.7 million”, says Adriana Beringuy.

The informality rate reached 41% in Q4, encompassing a total 38.4 million persons. The category of self-employed workers, with 24.6 million persons, was stable last quarter. In comparison with the last quarter of 2018, there was an increase (3.3%), meaning an estimated increase by 782 thousand persons.

The groups of activity recording the main increases in the number of employed persons in comparison with the previous quarter were: trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (2.1%, or 376 thousand persons); lodging and feeding (3.3%, or 179 thousand persons); and other services (3.0%, or 151 thousand persons). There was a decrease in the group Agriculture, livestock, forestry, fishing and aquaculture (2.1%, that is, by 178 thousand persons).

In comparison with the quarter October-December 2018, there was an increase in industry (3.3%, or 388 thousad persons); lodging and feeding (5.2%, or 282 thousand persons); and other services (4.5%, or 221 thousand persons). The other groups did not record significant changes. 

The average usual real earnings (R$ 2,340) remaied stable in the quarter OIctober-November-December in both comparisons. The annual average was R$ 2,330, with a slight change (0.4%) in relation to 2018. The usual real wage bill (R$ 216,3 billion) increased 1.9% against the quarter July-September. Against the same quarter in 2019, there was a 2.5% increase. The annual average (R$ 212.4 billion) rose 2.5% versus that of 2018.

*National Register of Legal Entities 


Keywords: Emprego, Informalidade, Desemprego, Carteira Assinada, Trabalho, PNAD Contínua, Vagas, Dezembro, 2019