Nossos serviços estão apresentando instabilidade no momento. Algumas informações podem não estar disponíveis.

Continuous PNAD

Unemployment stays at 14.6% in quarter up to May, hits 14.8 million persons

Section: Social Statistics | Alerrandre Barros

July 30, 2021 09h00 AM | Last Updated: July 30, 2021 04h19 PM

Brazil had 34.7 million persons working in the informality in the quarter ended in May - Photo: Bruno Cecim/Agência Pará

The unemployment rate was 14.6% in the quarter ended in May, standing stable in relation to the quarter ended in February (14.4%). It corresponds to 14.8 million persons looking for a job in Brazil. This was the second highest rate in the time series, started in 2012 by the IBGE. The record rate (14.7%) was registered in the two immediately previous moving quarters, closed in March and April.

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

The population in the workforce, which includes employed and unemployed persons, grew 1.2 million, leveraged by the contingent of employed persons (86.7 million), which rose by 809 thousand, an increase of 0.9% compared with the previous quarter. Adriana Beringuy, an analyst of the survey, explains that the expansion in employment reflects the advance of 3.0% of the self-employed workers, the only professional category that rose in the period.

“Those workers are being absorbed by activities in the segments of information, communication and financial, real estate, professional and administrative activities, which grew 3.9%, the only advance among the activities in the quarter up to May,” says the analyst.


In the comparison with the quarter closed in May last year, the workforce grew 2.9% (or 2.9 million), though mainly influenced by the increase of the unemployed population (2.1 million).

“Many people stopped to look for a job in the quarter between March and May last year due to the restrictions, since many economic activities were shut down to control the pandemic. It caused the look for a job to decrease. With the relaxation one year after that, those people pressed the market once again,” explains Adriana Beringuy.

Self-employed workers also recorded the biggest expansion (2.0 million) in the labor market in a year. “The growth in self-employed work was due, above all, to agriculture (27%), construction (25%) and information, communication and financial, real estate, professional and administrative activities (24%). The other 24% were spread over the other activities investigated by the Continuous PNAD,” details the IBGE´s analyst.

The survey shows that work with a formal contract in the private sector remained stable (29.8 million) in the quarter up to May. However, the annual comparison showed a reduction of 4.2% or less 1.3 million persons. The category of domestic workers was estimated at 5.0 million persons, remaining stable in both comparisons. The same happened with those employed in the public sector (12.0 million).

Those employed in the private sector without a formal contract also remained stable (9.8 million). A growth of 6.4% with more 586 thousand persons was registered in relation to the same quarter a year ago. The number of employers (3.7 million persons) remained stable in relation to the previous quarter. On the other hand, the category with CNPJ registered the lowest level in the time series (3.1 million). It recorded a reduction of 311 thousand employers against the same quarter a year ago.

Informality grows, though it remains below the pre-pandemic level

The informality rate was 40.0% in the quarter up to May, the equivalent to 34.7 million persons. The rate was 39.6% in the previous quarter, with 34.0 million informal workers. Beringuy notes that that contingent was smaller a year ago: 32.3 million and a rate of 37.6%.

“Today we have more 2.4 million informal workers than one year ago. However, informal workers added up to 38.1 million persons in the pre-pandemic quarter (December 2019 to February 2020), at an informality rate of 40.6%. As much as informal workers are increasing their share in the employed population over the last quarters, the contingent is still smaller than it was before the pandemic,” compared the survey´s analyst.

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.

Therefore, the employment-population ratio (48.9%) remains below 50% since the quarter ended in May last year, which means that less than half of the population at working age is employed in Brazil.

Time-related underemployed hit a record of 7.4 million

The contingent of underemployed persons, which are those unemployed, time-related underemployed or in the potential workforce, was of 32.9 million in the quarter up to May. The composite underutilization rate remained stable (29.3%) in relation to the previous quarter (29.2%).

In contrast, the time-related underemployed workers hit a record of 7.4 million, an increase of 6.8% or more 469 thousand persons. This indicator rose 27.2% in relation to the same quarter last year, when 5.8 million underemployed persons lived in Brazil.

Those discouraged, who gave up looking for a job due to the structural conditions of the market, added up to 5.7 million persons, remaining stable in relation to the previous quarter, though they grew 5.5% over the same period of 2020 (5.4 million).

Average earnings of workers stays at R$2,547

The survey also shows that the real average earnings of workers was R$2,547 in the quarter ended in May, 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$215.5 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. The tables with the complete results are available at Sidra.

Since March last year, the survey data collection has been carried out through telephone only, due to the pandemic. As of July 5 this year, the data collection has not been exclusively remote, but also face-to-face, according to Ordinance no. 207/2021 of the Presidency of the IBGE, which relaxed some activities considered essential.

Page 1 of 91