Monthly Survey of Services

Services sector advances 1.8% in September, fourth rise in a row

Section: Economic Statistics | Cristiane Crelier

November 12, 2020 09h00 AM | Last Updated: November 12, 2020 04h08 PM

Financial and support services leverage the rise of other services, the only activity that recovered losses from the pandemic - Photo: Licia Rubinstein/IBGE News Agency

The services sector increased 1.8% between August and September, the fourth positive result in a row. However, the cumulative gain of 13.4% in this period is still insufficient to offset the losses of 19.8% accrued between February and May. Therefore, volume of services is still 18.3% below the record reached in November 2014 and 8.0% below the level of February 2020.

These are data from the Monthly Survey of Services - PMS, released today (12) by the IBGE. The sector retreated 7.2% in relation to September 2019, the seventh consecutive negative rate in this comparison. The cumulative index in the year dropped 8.8% over the same period of 2019.

Four out of the five activities surveyed increased between August and September. Only professional, administrative and complementary services (-0.6%) registered a negative result, eliminating a small part of the gain of 5.8% in the period between June and August.

Having reached 4.8% in the comparison with the previous month and 6.1% in the cumulative index in the year, the sector of other services was the only one to surpass the pre-pandemic level.

"Other services reached its highest level since October 2014, reflecting the rise in financial and support services. The enterprises in this segment have been increasing their revenue since the second semester of 2018, due to the consistent reduction of the Selic rate, which reduced the gains of the savings accounts and led the economic agents to look for more attractive investments, either fixed or variable rent. In this regard, enterprises that intermediate the raising of resources, like security dealers and stock exchange administrators, have been gaining significant revenue due to the bigger demand for higher profitability assets," comments Rodrigo Lobo, manager of the survey.


Another activity that stood out was information and communication, which advanced 2% in September, offsetting the drop in August (-1%). Yet, the cumulative gain of 7% in the June-September period still did not offset all the decline (-8.9%) between January and May. 

Within this sector, the segment of information technology is already signaling a recovery, being one of the few with a positive figure in the cumulative index in the year (6.5%).

The sectors that were mostly affected by the pandemic, services rendered to families (9.0%) and transportation (1.1%) recorded a more moderate influence to the month´s result, since both increased for the fifth consecutive month, providing them with a higher comparison basis. 

"Many workers are still working from home and there are still many people who are not leaving home nor traveling. As a result, establishments like restaurants and hotels, as well as transportation of passengers are still not operating at full capacity, acting like restrictors of a more accelerated upturn both of the services rendered to families and of the transportation sector as a whole," explains Lobo.

Air transportation rose 19.2% over the previous month, though it still accrues a drop of -37.6% in the year. On the other hand, the segments of water transportation (11.2%) and storage, support activities for transportation and mailing (2.2%) were the only – in addition to information technology services – to post positive rates in the cumulative index in the year.

Services rendered to families accrue a reduction of -38.6% in the year, being the segment of housing and food services the one that mostly dropped among all segments: -40.2%.