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Monthly Survey of Services

Services sector grows 10.9% in 2021 and overcomes 2020 losses

Section: Economic Statistics | Irene Gomes

February 10, 2022 09h00 AM | Last Updated: February 10, 2022 04h57 PM

Transportation sector drives up services in 2021 - Photo: Rodrigo Felix/SEIL-PR

The services sector grew 10.9% in 2021, after having dropped 7.8% in 2020. That was the biggest rate for the end of a year since the beginning of the time series in 2012. In the comparison between December and November, the sector grew 1.4% - second month with a high, accumulation an expansion of 4.1%. These are data from the Monthly Survey of Services - PMS, released today (February 10) by the IBGE.

According to the survey manager, Mr. Rodrigo Lobo, between 2012 and 2019, the services sector accumulated a positive change of 0.1% and in the 2020-2021 period, a high of 2.2%. That means that part of the cumulative growth in the last 10 years (2.3%) is due to the more dynamic behavior of some services segments in 2021.

“IN the first month od 2020, the services sector was severely affected because of the need for social isolation and the closure of establishments providing face-to-face services. On the other hand, the pandemic brought opportunities for service businesses targeted at companies, such as information technology, cargo transportation, storage, transportation logistics and auxiliary financial services, which had more significant gains and offset the losses of face-to-face services”, he adds.


At the end of the year, Mr. Lobo highlights that there were highs in all activities. “It is the second time in the series that all activities grow simultaneously. Of the ten years in the series, the sector closed positive in five (2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2021), and, of these five, only in 2012 and 2021 there was growth in all activities”.

The activities that stood out the most in the year were transportation, support services to transportation and mailing (15.1%) and information and communication (9.4%) With the increase, the two activities surpassed the drops of 7.6% and 1.6%, respectively, recorded in 2020.

The other advances were those of professional, administrative and complementary services (7.3%); services rendered to families (18.2%) and other services (5.0%). In the case of professional, administrative and complementary services and services rendered to families, the growth in 2021 was not enough to offset the losses in 2020 (respectively, -11.4% and -35.6%).  The activity of other services has been increasing since 2018, having grown by 6.8% in 2020.

In December, services sector grows 1.4%

From November to December, with growth of 1.4%, the services sector widened the gap from the pre-pandemic level (February 2020) to 6.6%, reaching its highest level since August. of 2015.  However, it is still 5.6% below the record reached in November 2014.

Mr. Lobo points out that “as of June 2020, when the recovery begins, there were 19 results, 15 of which were positive and 4 were negative (in December 2020, March, September and October 2021).  That establishes a growth context for the sector.

Four of the five activities investigated advanced in December.  The biggest impact came from the transportation sector, which grew 1.8%, the second consecutive positive result, accumulating a gain of 4.0%.  The sector is 9.8% above its pre-pandemic level, but 5.2% below its highest point in the series, in February 2014.


The sector of professional, administrative and complementary services, which was second biggest impact among all others, grew 2.6%.  This is also the second positive rate, accumulating a gain of 3.9%.  The activity is 0.2% below the pre-pandemic level and 20.7% below the highest point in its series, in July 2012.

Other services had the third impact. The growth of 1.4% in December was the second positive rate in a row, accumulating a gain of 5.6%.  As a result, it is 0.5% above the pre-pandemic level and 10.5% below the highest point in the series, in August 2011.

Services rendered to families (0.9%) were the fourth activity, with the ninth positive rate in a row and accumulated growth of 61.6%. It is 11.2% below the pre-pandemic level and 21.8% below the highest point of its series, in October 2013. “This was the activity that felt the greatest effects of the pandemic, it lost a lot of revenue in the initial months , but since then it has been reducing its losses”, claims Mr. Lobo.

The only negative rate of the month came from information and communication services (-0.2%), after having increased by 4.7% in November. “The activity loss only a small portion of the gain made in November, of 4.7%.  The balance is still largely positive for this activity,” says he.  The activity is 12.8% above the pre-pandemic level and had its highest point in November 2021.

Services grew in all 27 Federation Units in 2021

In the cumulative result for the year, the increase in the volume of services in Brazil (10.9%) occurred in the 27 Federation Units.  The main positive impact was that of São Paulo (11.5%), followed by Minas Gerais (14.0%), Rio de Janeiro (7.3%), Rio Grande do Sul (12.1%) and Santa Catarina ( 14.7%).

From November to December, there were increases in 19 of the 27 Federation Units, following the increase (1.4%) observed in Brazil.  Among the places with positive rates, the most important impact came from São Paulo (1.5%), followed by the Federal District (9.3%) and Minas Gerais (2.3%). On the other hand, Rio de Janeiro (-1.5%) recorded the biggest decrease.

Tourism activities grew 3.5% in December and 21.1 in 2021

In 2021, the special aggregate of tourism activities recorded an increase of 21.1% against the same period last year, mainly due to increases in air transportation; hotels; restaurants; mass road transportation and car rentals.

In December 2021, the tourism activities index grew 3.5% compared to the previous month, the seventh positive rate in the last eight months, a period in which it accumulated a gain of 66.7%. However, the tourism segment is still 11.4% below the level of February 2020.

“This index of tourism activities has a profile similar to that of services rendered to families, since many activities that form the indicator come from this segment,” the researcher says.

More about PMS

The Monthly Survey of Services produces indicators to monitor the short-term behavior of 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 produces results for Brazil and all the Federation Units. Results are available at Sidra database.

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