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Continuous PNAD

Unemployment levels off at 8.5% in quarter ended April, lowest rate for the period since 2015

Section: Social Statistics | Caio Belandi

May 31, 2023 09h00 AM | Last Updated: June 06, 2023 09h33 PM

Informality rate reached 38.9% of the employed population in quarter ended April - Photo: Marcelo Seabra/Pará Branch

The unemployment rate was 8.5% in the moving quarter ended April 2023. the change of 0.1 percentage points (p.p.) from the previous quarter, Nov 2022-Jan 2023 (8.4%), shows stability of the index. That is the lowest rate for a quarter ended April since 2015, when it was 8.1%. Against the same period in 2022, the unemployment rate fell by 2 p.p. Data come from the Continuous National household Sample Survey (Pnad Contínua), released today (31) by the IBGE.

“This stability is different is different from what we used to see in this period. The seasonal patter of the moving quarter Feb-Mar-Apr is an increase of the unemployment rate, by means of a bigger employed population, which did not occur this time,” says Alessandra Brito, analyst of the survey.


The unemployment population was 9.1 million persons against 9 million in the previous quarter. Despite the stability in this comparison, in the current analysis the figure dropped 19.9% (by 2.3 million persons). On the other hand, the number of employed persons, 98 million, decreased by 0.6% (or by 605 thousand persons) against the results of the quarter ended January. “This decrease is part of the seasonal trend observed in the time series. It has occurred in the April-January comparison, except for the period of the pandemic,” says Ms. Brito.

The decrease in the employed population was driven by the results in the groups of activities of domestic services, which recorded a decrease of 3.3% (by 196 thousand persons), besides sectors of agriculture, livestock, forestry, fishing, and aquaculture (a decrease of 2.4% or 204 thousand persons) and trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (decrease of 1.4% or 265 thousand persons).

The population out of the workforce stood at 67.2 million persons, an increase of 1.3% in the quarterly comparison, or 885 thousand persons. In the annual comparison, the increase was 3.5%, or 2.3 million persons. According to Ms. Brito, “this increase seems to be related to demographic issues than reflections of the labor market, since the number of discouraged persons or the population in the potential workforce, who are part of this population, recorded a decrease in the quarter.”

In April, the number of workers without a formal contract and domestic workers records decrease

The results of Continuous PNAD for April also show that the number of workers without a formal contract in the private sector dropped 2.9% against the quarter ended January, and stood at 12.7 million. The number of domestic workers also decreased: by 3.2% and reached 5.7 million persons.

The number of workers with a formal contract in the private sector (36.8 million), of self-employed workers (25.2 million) and workers in the public sector (12 million) were stable in April.

Earnings and informality rate were stable in April

The informality rate was 38.9% of the employed population, or 38 million informal workers in April. In the previous quarter, the rate was 39%, whereas it was 40.1% in April 2022.

The usual real earnings stood at R$ 2,891, being stable against the quarter ended January, but with an increase of 7.5% in the annual comparison. The real usual wagebill, of R$ 278.8 billion, also recorded stability in the comparison between quarters, with an increase of 9.6% from April 2022.

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 identity of the interviewers can be confirmed at the Answering the IBGE website or through the Call Center (0800 7218181), and their ID numbers can be requested by the informants.

See PNAD data on Sidra. The next release of Continuous PNAD Contínua, relative to the quarter ended May, will be on June 30th.

Keywords: Desemprego fica estável em 8, 5% no trimestre até abril, menor taxa para o período desde 2015

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