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Monthly Survey of Services

Services sector grows 1.2% in May and goes beyond pre-pandemic level once more

Section: Economic Statistics | Cristiane Crelier

July 13, 2021 09h00 AM | Last Updated: July 14, 2021 03h54 PM

Air transportation recorded an increase of 60.7% in the month - Photo: Marcello Casal Jr/Agência Brasil

Volume of services increased by 1.2% from April to May, and exceeded, for the second time this year, the pre-pandemic level, by 0.2%. With two months of positive increases in a row, the sector had a cumulative increase of 2.5%, still insufficient to make up for losses in March (-3.4%), but enough to indicate most activities will heat up. In spite of that, the sector is still 11.3% its record result, reached in November 2014. In the year, the sector has a cumulative increase of 7.3% and, in the last 12 months, registered -2.2%.

Data comes from the Monthly Survey of Services (PMS), released today by the IBGE. In February this year, services reached a level 1.2% above what was observed in February 2020, month that preceded the implementation of the first social distancing measures.

“The sector had been recovering well, but, in March, with the aggravation of Covid-19 cases, governors and mayors once again adopted additional restriction measures, which affected the activities of service companies. In April and May such measures started to be relaxed and the sector grows again,” says Rodrigo Lobo, manager of the survey.


Three of the five activities surveyed by PMS recorded increases in May. A highlight was transportation, support services for transportation and mailing (3.7%), which accounts for the second main impact on the general index (32.8 percentage points).

“Expansion in transportation has a lot to do with the fall of air fare prices, besides the increased demand for the service. Air transportation increased by 60.7% in May. Also, the segment of storage, support services for transportation and mailing (3,.%), which also composes the activity, remains on an upward trend, having reached its higher level in the PMS time series. This result counted on contributions from airport management and road concessionaries,” Mr. Lobo says.

Services rendered to households also stand out (17.9%) and recorded the biggest increase among all the activities surveyed, although with a smaller share (5.6%) of the index.

“The activity of services rendered to families, however, remains far from its pre-pandemic level: 29.1% below. The activity of professional, administrative and complementary services, which recorded an increase of 1.0% in May, has not recovered yet either, and is 2.7% below the level it was in February 2020,” he highlights.

According to the researcher, the other activities surpassed that figure, with information and communication services 6.4% above; transportation, support services for transportation and mailing, 4.7% above and other services, 3.3% above. However, information and communication services, which accounts for most of the overall index (34.4%), registered the main drop in May (-1.0%). Other services (-0.2%) recorded a decrease too.

By area, almost all the Federation Units (23 of 27) recorded an increase in volume of services in May 2021 against the previous month. Among the areas with positive results, the most relevant impact was that of São Paulo (2.5%), which is also the location with the biggest share of the overall index (45 percentage points). Other positive highlights were Bahia (8.6%), Minas Gerais (2.1%) and Federal District (3.7%). On the other hand, Tocantins (-2.9%), Mato Grosso (-0.4%), Piauí (-1.9%) and Rondônia (-0.8%) recorded the only drops at regional level.

Against May 2020, increase reached 23.0%

Against the same month a year ago, volume of services recorded an increase of 23.0% in May 2021, third positive rate in a row and the most significant in the time series that started in January 2012. All the activities recorded increases in this comparison.

“It is worth mentioning, nevertheless, that the magnitude of increase of services volume this month results, mainly, from the low comparison basis, since the services sector had faced a decrease of 19.3% in May 2020, for many sanitary measures were still in effect, which reduced population mobility and restrained the activities of establishments considered non-essential,” Mr. Lobo recalls.

Tourism index activities increased by 18.2% from April l

The tourism index activity recorded an increase of 18.2% against the immediately previous month, second positive rate in a row, when it had a cumulative increase of 23.3%.

“This result makes up for most of the decrease in March, a month marked by the biggest number of restriction measures applied to establishments. However, the tourism segment still has to increase by 53.1% to get back to the level of February last year,” Mr. Lobo adds.

About the survey

The Monthly Survey of Services produces indicators to monitor the short-term information on the services sector in Brazil. The survey investigates the gross revenue from services in formal enterprises, employing 20 or more persons, in which the main activity is a non-financial service, excluding the areas of health and education.

It presents data on Brazil and all the Federation Units. The results are available at Sidra.

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