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Continuous PNAD

At 8.4%, unemployment remains stable in quarter ending in January

Section: Economic Statistics | Vinícius Britto

March 17, 2023 09h00 AM | Last Updated: March 17, 2023 03h04 PM

Employment in agriculture retracted by 272 thousand people in quarter ended in January - Picture: Licia Rubinstein/IBGE News Agency

The unemployment rate, which measures unemployment in Brazil, stayed at 8.4% in the quarter ended in January.  That rate represents a stability in the comparison with the previous quarter, ended in October 2022, when it stayed at 8.3%, and it is the lowest rate for the period (November to January) since 2015. It dropped 2.9 percentage points (p.p.) in the comparison with the same quarter last year.

The contingent of unemployed people was 9.0 million in the quarter, the same figure as that in the quarter ended in October, though with a drop of 3 million people in the annual comparison, when it had 12 million people in this condition. The data came from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey - Continuous PNAD, released today (17) by the IBGE.

“That stability would still be an effect of the reduction of the search for jobs in the months of November and December 2022 over the beginning of 2023,” explains Adriana Beringuy, the Coordinator of the Continuous PNAD.


The employment-population ratio (indicator that measures the percentage of employed persons in the population at working age) was estimated at 56.7%, matching the percentage reached in the same quarter of 2016. On the other hand, the contingent of employed persons was of 98.6 million, which represents a drop of 1 million people in relation to the quarter ended in October.

“Employment dropped in the quarter, after an expansion in the number of workers in the moving quarters of 2022. In the annual comparison, the contingent of employed persons remains growing, with a rise of 3.4%. Therefore, if it remains stable on the unemployment side, it loses jobs on the job generation side. Two scenarios can be noticed: in a short-term analysis, jobs drop, whereas jobs increase in the one-year comparison,” states Beringuy.

According to the coordinator of the Continuous PNAD, those results explain the scenario noticed in the end of the moving quarter between November and January. “The stability of the unemployed population coupled with the retraction in the number of workers left the unemployed population stable,” highlights her.

In an analysis of the sectors that mostly influenced the results of the quarter, Beringuy highlights the major responsible for the loss of jobs in the beginning of the year.

“It is possible to perceive the steep loss of jobs in the activities of Agriculture, livestock, forestry, fishery and aquaculture, with a retraction of 272 thousand persons, and of Public administration, education and health, with a loss of 342 thousand persons. Besides those major ones, other activities registered negative changes, though not significant statistically speaking, which point out to a loss in the number of workers in the beginning of the year, by the turn of the fourth quarter of 2022 into the beginning of 2023,” assesses her.

Earnings grow 1.6% over quarter ending in October

Usual real earnings grew 1.6% in the quarter ended in January to R$2,835, and 7.7% in the annual comparison. “An important growth in the earnings of workers has been noticed for some quarters, with the quarter ended in January ranked in the third position,” highlights Beringuy.

The coordinator of the Continuous PNAD also lists some sectors that influenced the growth in the quarter and in the comparison with the same period in the previous year. “In terms of activities compared with the previous quarter, we highlight the activities of Lodging and food, which increased 7%, and of Public administration, health and education, which increased 3.1%. Domestic services stood out as well, expanding real earnings by 2.2%. In the annual comparison, all the activities recorded a statistically-significant gain in their earnings,” notes her.

Number of discouraged persons stays at 4 million in the quarter

The contingent of discouraged persons - which are persons in the potential workforce who would like to work, but did not look for a job for not believing that they would be successful - was nearly 4 million in the quarter ended in January. That estimate represents a reduction of 5.3% or 220 thousand persons in relation to the quarter ended in October 2022.

That indicator also registered a negative change (-16.7%) in relation to the same quarter a year ago, when 4.8 million persons were discouraged in Brazil.

More about the survey

The Continuous PNAD is the main instrument to monitor workforce in Brazil. The survey sample 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 to the data collection network of more than 500 IBGE branches.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IBGE implemented data collection by telephone on March 17, 2020. In July 2021, face-to-face data collection was resumed.  The id of the interviewers can be confirmed at the Answering the IBGE website or through the Call Center (0800 7218181) by checking their ID numbers, which can be requested by the informants. See PNAD data at Sidra.

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