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Continuous PNAD

Unemployment grows, but the employed population remains stable

Section: Social Statistics | Luiz Bello

March 28, 2024 09h00 AM | Last Updated: April 01, 2024 03h32 PM

The unemployed population saw its first increase since April 2023, but the number of workers with a formal contract remained stable - Photo: Karolina Fabbris Pacheco/AEN-PR

In the quarter ended in February 2024, the unemployment rate reached 7.8%, an increase of 0.3 percentage points compared to the quarter ended in November 2023. Despite the increase, this rate is still below what was recorded in the same moving quarter last year (ended in February 2023), which was 8.6%. The information is from the IBGE Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNAD).

Adriana Beringuy, coordinator of IBGE Household Surveys, observes that the increase in the unemployment rate at this time of year is associated “with the return of those who had interrupted their search for work in December and returned to look for a job in the beginning of the following year”.

Unemployed population has first increase since quarter ending in April 2023

The number of persons looking for work reached 8.5 million persons, an increase of 4.1% in the quarterly comparison, which is equivalent to an additional 332 thousand persons looking for a job. It was the first increase in this contingent since the moving quarter ended in April 2023. Even growing, the number of unemployed persons was still 7.5% below what was recorded in the same moving quarter of 2023 (9.2 million persons).

The increase in the unemployment rate was specifically due to the increase in the search for work, because the number of persons working in the country remained at 100.2 million, without showing a statistically significant change in the quarterly comparison. Furthermore, this employed population is 2.2% above the number registered in the same moving quarter last year (99.1 million workers).

Agriculture and public administration, health, education firing;  Transportation hiring

Despite the general stability, some groups of activity in the IBGE Continuous PNAD showed a reduction in the number of employed persons. One of them was Agriculture. According to Ms. Beringuy, “this may be linked to the reduction in the number of workers in some crops, such as corn and coffee”.

The analyst claims that, in the other group losing number of workers - Public Administration, health, education -, there is also a pattern of seasonality: “In this group, at the end of the year, employees with temporary contracts, as basic education professionals, are laid off in the public sector. These sectors start hiring again when classes start again, especially after February.”

On the other hand, the number of employed persons in the Transportion, Storage and Mailing group grew 5.1% in the quarterly comparison, equivalent to an additional 285 thousand persons working in the sector. “We have seen an increase in employment in cargo transportation and also in storage. Employment in activities involving logistics had been increasing, and this seems to have continued in the quarter we analyzed”, observes Adriana Beringuy.

The number of workers with a formal employment contract also remained at 38.0 million, without significant change in the quarterly comparison. Ms. Beringuy believes that, in the quarter analyzed, the categories in which layoffs occurred “have predominance of informal workers. This helped keeping the number of employees with a formal contract stable.”

Labor earnings remains high

The average earnings of employed persons reached R$3,110, an increase of 1.1% in the quarter and 4.3% in the annual comparison. The analyst believes that activities involving professionals in the lodging and food sector were booming in the months of December to February, “even for informal workers in the sector, contributing to this increase in earnings”.

In the case of the earnings in Public administration, health and education sector, Ms. Beringuy remembers that there were layoffs of temporary workers in the area of Public Education. “As these temporary workers, mainly in municipal schools, have lower earnings, this may have contributed to an increase in the average earnings in this group of activity”.

Discouraged workers have the first increase since quarter ended in April 2021

The number of discouraged people reached 3.7 million people, an increase of 8.7% in the quarterly comparison, equivalent to an additional 293 thousand people in this condition. It was the first increase in this contingent since the moving quarter ended in April 2021, when the number of discouraged people reached 5.9 million, during the Covid 19 pandemic.

More about the survey

The Continuous PNAD is the main instrument for monitoring the workforce in the country. The survey sample per quarter in Brazil corresponds to 211 thousand households surveyed. Around two thousand interviewers work on the survey, in 26 states and in the Federal District, integrated within the scope of the collection network of more than 500 IBGE agencies.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IBGE started the collection of survey information by telephone on March 17, 2020. In July 2021, in-person collection resumed. It is possible to confirm the interviewer's identity on the Answering to the IBGE website or via Call Center (0800 721 8181), checking the interviewer's registration number, ID or CPF - data which can be requested by the respondent.

You can consult PNAD data on Sidra database. The next release of the Continuous Monthly PNAD, referring to the quarter ending in March, will be on the 30th of April.

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