Monthly Survey of Services

Services sector decreases by 4% in March and is once again below pre-pandemic figures

Section: Economic Statistics | Caio Belandi

May 12, 2021 09h00 AM | Last Updated: May 13, 2021 11h03 AM

#PraTodosVerem A foto mostra pessoas sentadas em mesas de bar, algumas com máscaras.
Services rendered to families fell 27% in March - Photo: Helena Pontes/IBGE News Agency

The sector of services recorded a 4% decrease from February to March, being once again below the pre-pandemic level (February 2020). The result eliminates most of the increase in the previous year, 4.6%, when the pre-pandemic result was exceeded for the first time.

From March 2020, the sector recorded an increase of 4.5%, after 12 negative rates in a row. The end of Q1 brought a decrease of 0.8% versus the result in the same period in 2020. Volume of sales had now its fifth consecutive decrease in quarterly comparisons. The cumulative index in 12 months is -8%.

Data comes from the Monthly Survey of Services (PMS), released today (12), by the IBGE. “The sector had been showing recovery since June last year and even exceeded pre-pandemic figures. But now it is 2.8% below the index of February last year,” says rodrigo Lobo, manager of the survey .


Three of the five activities surveyed by PMS recorded a decrease, with a highlight to the result of services rendered to families, with a decrease of 27%, the main negative rate since 2020 (-46.5%). Other contributions to the index came from transportation, support services for transportation and mailing (-1.9%) and professional, administrative and complementary services (-1.4%).

Mr. Lobo explains that the result for these activities reflects the resumption of restriction measures due to the advance of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil. “Impact was not as significant as in March 2020, but enough to cause services sector to shrink and get back to pre-pandemic levels.”

By area, a little more than half (14 of the 27) Federation Units recorded a decrease in volume of services from February to March. Among the areas with negative rates, the main one was São Paulo (-2.6%), followed by the Federal District (-6.1%), Minas Gerais (-1.6%), Santa Catarina (-3.4%) and Rio de Janeiro (-0.8%). Mato Grosso (11.8%), in turn recorded the main increase.

From March 2020, the volume of the services sector increased by 4.5% and interrupted a series of 12 negative rates in this indicator. This month ‘s result recorded an increase in four of the five dissemination activities and also in 45.2% of the 166 types of services investigated.

That was mainly a contribution from the sectors of services, support services for transportation and mailing (8.8%) and information and communication services (6.2%). Accounting for lower impacts, other services (7.3%) and professional, administrative and complementary services (0.7%) also had relevant contributions.

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 activity, except in the segments of health and education.

There are results for Brazil and all the Federation Units. The data collection techniques adopted for the PMS are Computer assisted personal interviewing (CASI) and Paper questionnaire administered by an interviewer (PAPI). Results are available at Sidra.