Monthly Survey ofServices

Services sector advances 2.9% in August, third rise in a row

Section: Economic Statistics | Alerrandre Barros

October 14, 2020 09h00 AM | Last Updated: October 14, 2020 05h12 PM

Restaurants leveraged rise of services to families in August - Photo: Tânia Rego/Agência Brasil

Volume of services grew 2.9% in August over July, reaching the third rise in a row and accruing a growth of 11.2% in the period. Nevertheless, this result was still not sufficient to recover the losses of 19.8% between February and May. These are data from the Monthly Survey of Services - PMS, released today (14) by the IBGE.

On the other hand, volume of services retreated 10% in relation to August 2019, the sixth consecutive negative rate in this basis of comparison. The cumulative index in 2020 dropped 9%. The decline is of 5.3% in 12 months, maintaining the indicator in the downward path started in January and reaching the most intense negative figure in the time series, started in December 2012.

"In spite of three consecutive rises, the services sector is still 9.8% below the level of February (-1.1%)," says Rodrigo Lobo, manager of the survey, reminding that the drop registered in February is not related to the pandemic. "This retreat was circumstantial and reflected, at that time, an adaptation of the sector in relation to the higher dynamism recorded in the end of last year. As a result, services accrued a loss of 18.9% in the pandemic, between March and May," explains him.

The advance between July and August was leveraged by four out of the five activities surveyed by the IBGE, highlighted by services rendered to families, which rose 33.3%, pressed by restaurants and hotels. The rise in this activity was the highest one in the time series, though it is still far from the level of February (-41.9%), the month that preceded the beginning of social distancing to control the dissemination of the coronavirus.

"After the most critical months of the pandemic, March and April, the activity of services rendered to families registered the three highest rates of the entire time series: 33.3% in August, 14.4% in June and 13.8% in May. Even with these records, it is still very far from recovering the losses of March and April, so big was the drop. Services rendered to families should grow 72.2% to return to the level of February," says Lobo.

 

Another highlight in the advance of the services sector came from transportation, support services for transportation and mailing (3.9%). This activity accrued a gain of 18.8% over the last four months, but it also did not recover the losses of March and April (-25.2%). According to the manager of the survey, storage, air transportation of passengers, land transportation of cargo and land transportation of passengers leveraged the positive figure.

"The improvement in storage and land transportation of cargo is partly due to trade, since the purchase of certain goods involves distribution centers and depends on land transportation to reach final consumers. On the other hand, transportation of passengers is increasing as the travel of families is increasing again," analyzes him.

The other advances of the sector came from professional, administrative and complementary services (1%) and other services (0.8%). The only negative figure was recorded by information and communication services (-1.4%). For Lobo, however, this drop is an adaptation, since the segment is quite dynamic and accrues a positive balance, growing 6.3% between June and July.

Unlike trade and industry, the services sector is slowly recovering, according to Lobo, due to the face-to-face nature of some services, which some families fear to consume.

"Services rendered to families, which include restaurants, hotels, fitness centers and beauty parlors, were those that most suffered the effects of the pandemic. With the return of the activities, some enterprises opened, though with a limited service capacity. Such enterprises recovered to some extent, though with a 'recovery ceiling', since they do not have full service capacity as compared with the pre-pandemic period. It gets worse as some families fear to consume such services, like going to restaurants and traveling," explains the manager of the survey.

Tourism activity advances for the fourth month in a row, yet it does not recover losses

The index of tourism activities also expanded 19.3% in August over July, the fourth positive rate in a row, a period in which they accrued a gain of 63.4%. Nevertheless, the indicator still did not recover the losses of 68% registered between March and April, when several enterprises, mainly air transportation of passengers, restaurants and hotels interrupted their activities due to the pandemic. Compared with August 2019, volume of tourism activities dropped 44.5%, the sixth negative rate in a row.