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Monthy Survey of Services

Services sector grows 3.7% in February and surpasses pre-pandemic figures

Section: Economic Statistics | Cristiane Crelier

April 15, 2021 09h00 AM | Last Updated: April 19, 2021 10h57 AM

Transportation and storage of cargo grew after increase of exports and sales in online trade - Photo: José Fernando Ogura-AEN

Services sector grew 37% from January to February and surpassed, for the first time, pre-pandemic levels. In nine consecutive months with positive rates, the sector has recorded a cumulative increase of 24.0%, and recovered from the loss of 18.6% registered in the months of March and May 2020. Data comes from the Monthly Survey of Services (PMS), released today (15) by the IBGE.

Decrease was observed in all the five activities survyed and by 18 of the 27 Federation Units. São Paulo (4.3%), Minas Gerais (3.5%), Mato Grosso (14.8%) and Santa Catarina (3.9%) registered the main increases and the Federal District (-5.1%) the most relevant decrease.

Among the activities, the main increase was that of transportation, auxiliary services for transportation and mailing activities (4.4%), with a cumulative increase of 8.7% in the first two months of the year, now surpassing by 2.8% the level of February last year.


“In this segment, a highlight is the group of companies in the field of logistics, which had had a significant increase due to the rise of petroleum exports and agribusiness and, during the pandemic, significant expansion in demand due to the advance in online sales. So, the segment of storage, auxiliary services for transportation and mailing (4.4%) has grown significantly since June 2020 and, in February, reached its peak in the series (that started in January 2011),” says Rodrigo Lobo, manager of the survey.

He highlights that, in this activty, road transportation (5.5%) has also been on an upward trend, mainly due to the increased demand for road transportation of cargo. Also, in information and communication services (0.1%), the segment of information technology (1.7%) also grew in relevance during the pandemic and, in February 021, reached its peak in the IBGE's time series.

Services rendered to families (8.8%), which include segments such as restaurants and hotels, recorded the biggest increasse in the month, mostly due to a lower basis for comparison.

“As one of the activities facing most difficulties due to restrictions imposed on states and municipalities, services rendered to families had significant losses between March and May and still range significantly, as measures get more flexible or not. The two preceding months were characterized by decrease and, for that reason, there is a long way to go for recovery, and we are still 23.7% below the level reached in February 2020,” Mr. Lobo explains.

Similarly, tourism activity index grew 2.4% from January to February, recording its second positive rate after a negative change (-0.1%) in December 2020. But a lot has yet to be recovered: despite its increase of 127.5% between May 2020 and February 2021, tourism is still 39.2% behind the February 2020 figure.

In regional terms, seven of the 12 areas surveyed followed that movement of expansion in tourism. São Paulo (3.4%) stood out , followed by Minas Gerais (6.8%), Goiás (9.1%) and Pernambuco (4.9%). On the contrary, Federal District (-8.2%) and Bahia (-2.8%) recorded the most significant figures.

Result has been negative in comparison with that of February 2020

In comparison with the same month a year ago, however, indexes remain negative. The services sector decreased by 2.0% and the volume of tourism activities in Brazil, by 31.1%, both recording their twelfth negative rate in a row.

In the first two months of the year, services faced a 3.5% decline from the same period in 2020, with four of the five activities surveyed recording negative rates. Among the sectors, services rendered to families (-28.1%) accounted for the main negative contribution to the total volume of services in this comparison.

About the survey

The Monthly Survey of Services produces indicators for monitoring short-term performance of the services sector in the country, by investigating gross revenue of services in formal companies, with 20 or more employed persons, which have non-financial services as their main activities, except in the segments of health and education.

There are results for Brazil and all the Federation Units. The employed data collection techniques are Computer assisted personal interviewing (CASI) and Paper questionnaire administered by an interviewer (PAPI). Click here to see the complete survey. Results are available at Sidra.

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