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Continuous PNAD

Unemployment at 14.1% in quarter ended in November

Section: Social Statistics | Umberlândia Cabral

January 28, 2021 09h00 AM | Last Updated: January 28, 2021 12h50 PM

Nearly 33.5 million persons were in the informal labor market - Photo: Helena Pontes/IBGE News Agency

The unemployment rate was 14.1% in the quarter ended in November 2020, according to the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (Continuous Pnad), released today (28) by the IBGE. The rate was the highest for this moving quarter since the beginning of the survey's time series, in 2012. In relation to the quarter ended in August (14.4%), there is stability. In comparison with the same quarter of the previous year (11.2%), there is increase of 2.9 percentage points. The number of the unemployed was estimated at 14 million.

The number of employed persons increased by 4.8% in the quarter ended in November and reached 85.6 million. There are 3.9 million more persons in the job market than in the previous quarter. As a result, the employment -to-population ratio rose to 48.6%. According to survey analyst Adriana Beringuy, the growth in employment is due to the return of workers to the job market after the relaxation of measures against the Covid-19 pandemic and to the seasonality of the holidays, especially in trade.

“The growth of the employed population is the highest ever in the time series. This shows an advance in employment after several months in which this population had been falling. This expansion is linked to the return to the job market of those who were away because of social isolation and the increase in the hiring process during the holidays, when there is a natural employment growth”, she explains.

The increase in employment reached nine of the ten groups of activities monitored by the survey, but it was more intense in Trade: more than 854 thousand persons started working in the sector in the quarter ended in November. "Trade in this quarter, as well as in the same period of the previous year, was the sector that most employed, causing positive effects on labor contracts the private sector, which, after several months of decline, showed a reaction", she points out.

General Industry (4.4% or 465 thousand more persons) and Public Administration, defense, social security, education, human health and social services (2.6% or 427 thousand more persons) also stood out in the employment population increase. “In addition to trade, eight other economic activities investigated by the survey grew significantly in terms of employment, showing that the hiring process has also advanced in other sectors, such as Construction (8.4% or 457 thousand more persons), Transportation, storage and mailing (5.9% or 238 thousand more persons) and Lodging and food (10.8% or 400 thousand more persons) ”, says the researcher.

Most of the growth in employment came again from the informal market. An example is the number of employees in the private sector without a formal contract, which grew 11.2%, now totaling 9.7 million. With this increase, the informality rate reached 39.1% of the employed population, which represents 33.5 million informal workers in the country. In the previous quarter, the rate was 38%.

“Informal workers were the most affected at the beginning of the pandemic and were also the ones who sooner returned to the market. The informal population in this month corresponds to about 62% of the growth in total employment and, in the quarter ended in October, accounted for almost 89% of the employment rise. So, informality starts to have a smaller participation due to the reaction of the formal contract market”, she explains.

The number of employees in the private sector with a formal contract increased 3.1% (895 thousand more persons) and now totals 30 million. In the same period, the category of domestic workers increased by 5.1% and now comprises 4.8 million persons. There was also growth of 1.4 million persons in the self-employed contingent, which reached 22.9 million. However, compared to the same period in 2019, this category lost 1.7 million persons.

"Although there is this growth in employment in this quarter, when we compare November 2020 with the labor market of November 2019, losses in employment are still very significant," says Ms. Beringuy, who points out that activities such as Lodging and food, domestic services and Trade itself still accumulate relevant annual losses.

The total contingent of employed persons in the country fell 9.4% in comparison with the quarter ended in November 2019, which represents a reduction of 8.8 million persons. “Employment’s advance is significant, both in quantitative and qualitative aspects, since we have seen the growth of the population with a formal contract and its dissemination through various activities. But we are still a long way from a pre-pandemic scenario”, she adds.

Population outside the labor force

The survey also found that the population outside the labor force fell 3.4%, a decrease of 2.7 million persons when compared to the previous quarter. In relation to the same period of 2019, the contingent grew 17.3%, or 11.3 million more persons.

There was also a reduction in the potential  labor force, which includes persons who were neither employed nor unemployed, but who had the potential to become part of the labor force. This group fell 15.8% compared to the previous quarter, which represents a reduction of 2.1 million persons.

As a subgroup of persons in the potential labor force, the discouraged were estimated at 5.7 million, remaining stable compared to the last quarter. When compared to the same quarter of the previous year, when there were 4.7 million discouraged persons in the country, there was an increase of 22.9%.

Data collection by phone

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, since March the collection of the PNAD Continuous, which had previously been exclusively face-to-face, has been done by telephone, in order to protect interviewees and interviewers. Currently, to produce the main social indicators of the country, such as work, income, education and housing, the Continuous PNAD has a collection network with about 2 thousand interviewers who work continuously to obtain information in more than 70 thousand households every month in all Brazilian states. According to analyst Adriana Beringuy, the success of the work depends on citizens' answering the call.

"We produce information that is much wanted by society. People should understand that society will only get such information if our interviews are answered. Only through the ansewrs provided by each respondent can we deliver results. It is a great challenge, but we are aware that our work is of absolute importance, it has always been, in times of normal health, and it is now, in this period when the economy and the labor market, in particular, have been so affected by the pandemic", she points out.

When getting a call for the PNAD Continuous interview, you can check the ID, Insurance number or registration number of the interviewer on the Respondents' web page.

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