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Continuous PNAD

Unemployment maintains record of 14.7% in quarter ending in April

Section: Social Statistics | Alerrandre Barros

June 30, 2021 09h00 AM | Last Updated: June 30, 2021 04h30 PM

#PraTodosVerem Várias pessoas em fila, perto de uma cerca.
14.8 million persons are looking for a job in Brazil - Helena Pontes/IBGE News Agency

The unemployment rate was 14.7% in the quarter ended in April, 0.4 percentage points above the quarter ended in January (14.2%). As a result, the number of unemployed persons changed 3.4%, with more 489 thousand persons unemployed, adding up to 14.8 million persons looking for a job in Brazil. That rate and the contingent of unemployed persons maintain the record registered in the quarter ended in March, the highest one in the time series since 2012.

The data came from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey - Continuous PNAD, released today (30) by the IBGE.

“The scenario pointed out stability in the employed population (85.9 million) and growth of the unemployed population, with more pressure on the labor market,” states Adriana Beringuy, an analyst of the survey, noticing that the employment-population ratio (48.5%) remains below 50% since the quarter ended in May last year, which points out that less than half of the population at working age is employed in Brazil.


Compared with the quarter ended in April last year, when the first effects of the pandemic were noticed, the labor market still records losses in employment, though at a lower pace. “We still registered significant losses in the employed population (-3.7%), but we already had higher percentages, which reached 12% in the heyday of the pandemic. Therefore, we are noticing a reduction in the pace of losses at each quarter. However, we have less 3.3 million persons working since the beginning of the pandemic,” weighed the analyst.

Most indicators remained stable in the quarter up to April, in relation to the previous one. Among the professional categories, only the self-employed workers grew (2.3% or more 537 thousand persons), adding up to 24.0 million. “This way of insertion in the market shows a larger contingent now than in April 2020. We noticed a bigger reaction in the self-employed work than in employment with a formal contract in the private sector,” adds Adriana Beringuy.

Workers with a formal contract in the private sector remained stable at 29.6 million in the quarter. However, the annual comparison showed a reduction of 8.1% or less 2.6 million persons. Those employed in the private sector without a formal contract also remained stable (9.8 million). A reduction of 3.7% or less 374 thousand persons was registered in relation to the same quarter a year ago.

The category of domestic workers was estimated at 5.0 million persons. Compared with the same quarter last year, that group of workers reduced 10.4%, less 572 thousand persons. Those employed in the public sector remained stable at 11.8 million.

The number of employers with CNPJ (3.1 million) maintained the record of the smallest contingent in the time series started in the fourth quarter of 2015, when the difference between professionals with and without CNPJ began to be surveyed.

The informality rate was 39.8% in the quarter up to April, which is equivalent to 34.2 million persons, and it did not change significantly in relation to the previous quarter (39.7%). One year ago, the contingent was 34.6 million with a rate of 38.8%. Informal workers are those workers without a formal contract (either employed in the private sector or domestic workers), without CNPJ (either employers or self-employed) or unpaid workers.

Underemployed population grows more than that employed

Another highlight of the survey was the rise in the total number of underemployed persons, which are those unemployed, time-related underemployed or in the potential workforce. That contingent hit 33.3 million, the highest one in the comparable time series, an increase of 2.7% with more 872 thousand persons. The rate of 29.7% was also a record, a change of 0.7 percentage points over the previous quarter (29.0%).

Beringuy notes that the time-related underemployed population has been increasing since the quarter ended in October. The growth of those underemployed is higher than that of the employed population. “It shows that the number of workers who have availability to work more hours than those usually worked has been increasing,” explains the analyst.

Those discouraged, who gave up looking for a job due to the structural conditions of the market, added up to 6.0 million persons, remaining stable in relation to the previous quarter, though they remained at the highest level in the time series.

Trade reduces employed persons

The contingent of those employed also remained stable in all the groups of activities, except trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, which reduced 2.3% (or less 373 thousand persons) in the quarter ended in April over the previous one. “Trade is an activity that tends to not grow in the quarters ended in April. Such behavior of retraction of trade is seasonal,” explains Adriana Beringuy.

Compared with the same quarter last year, only the group of agriculture, livestock, forestry, fishing and aquaculture increased its employment (6.5% or more 532 thousand persons). The others reduced the contingent of workers: general industry (-4.3%), trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (-6.7%), transportation, storage and mailing (-8.3%), housing and food (-17.7%), other services (-13.9%) and domestic services (-10.1%).

Average earnings of workers remains stable

The survey also shows that the real average earnings of workers was R$2,532 in the quarter ended in April, remaining stable in relation to the previous one. The real wage bill, which is the sum of all workers´ earnings, also remained stable, hitting R$212.3 billion.

More about the survey

The Continuous PNAD is the major instrument to follow up the workforce in Brazil. The sample of the survey per quarter corresponds to 211 thousand households surveyed in Brazil. Nearly two thousand interviewers work in the survey in 26 states and in the Federal District, integrated in the data collection network of more than 500 IBGE agencies.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IBGE implemented the data collection through telephone since March 17, 2020. The id of the interviewers can be confirmed on the Answering the IBGE website or through the Call Center (0800 7218181) by checking their ID numbers, which can be requested by the informants.

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