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PNAD COVID19 - monthly edition: 9.7 million workers without salary in May

June 24, 2020 02h00 PM | Last Updated: July 03, 2020 10h24 AM

Of the 84.4 million workers in the country, around 19.0 million were away from their duties and, among these, 9.7 million were unpaid, which is equivalent to 11.5% of the employed population in May 2020. This month, around 16.8% of workers in the Northeast and 15.0% in the North were unpaid.

In the Northeast, 26.6% of workers (or 5 million persons) were away from their duties due to the pandemic, the highest proportion among the five regions.

In May, PNAD COVID19 found that 27.9% of the employed population (or 18.3 million persons) worked less hours than usual, while about 2.4 million persons worked above the usual average. The weekly average of actual hours worked (27.4h) in the country was below the usual average (39.6h).

A similar effect was seen in the workers' actual earnings (R$1,899), which was 18.1% below the usual income (R$2,320).

In May, 38.7% of households in the country received some cash aid from the government due to the pandemic, on a average amount of R$847. More than half of the households in the North and Northeast regions received that type of aid.

In May, 24 million persons had symptoms associated with COVID-19 and the North region showed the highest percentage (18.3%) of persons in this condition.

North and Northeast have the highest unemployment rates

In May, PNAD COVID19 estimated that the country had 160.9 million persons aged 14 and over, the so-called working-age population. The population in the workforce was 94.5 million, of whom 84.4 were employed and 10.1 unemployed. The population out of the workforce totaled 75.4 million persons.

Women were the majority in the resident population (51.1%) and in the working-age population (51.6%), but not in the workforce (43.5%). Among the employed, women represented 42.8% and, among the unemployed, 49.5%.

The total unemployed stood at 10.1 million persons and the unemployment rate reached 10.7%. The rates were: Central-West (11.4%), Northeast (11.2%), North (11.0%), Southeast (10.9%) and South (8.9%). The unemployment rate was for women (12.2%) higher than for men (9.6%).

26.6% of the Northeastern workers were away from work due to the pandemic

Among the 84.4 million workers of the country, 19.0 million (or 22.5%) were away from work in the week of reference and 15.7 million (or 18.6%) were away due to social distancing. The Northeast registered the highest percentage of persons away from work due to social distancing, whereas the South Region was the least affected (10.4%).

Employed persons and persons temporarily off-duty – May 2020

  Employed (thousand persons) Total off-duty (thousand persons) Total off-duty due to social distancing (thousand persons) Percentage of employed off-duty (%) Percentage of employed off--duty due to social distancing (%)
Brazil 84 404 18 964 15 725 22.5 18.6
North 6 372 1 792 1 487 28.1 23.3
Northeast 18 830 5 726 5 001 30.4 26.6
Southeast 38 077 8 233 6 801 21.6 17.9
South 13 949 1 976 1 447 14.2 10.4
Central-West 7 176 1 237 990 17.2 13.8

The age group with more off-duty persons was that of the 60 years old and over: 27.3%. This behavior was seen in all Major Regions and in the Northeast, social distancing reached 33.3% of the persons aged 60 and over.

Almost 10 million workers were unpaid due to the pandemic

Among the 19.0 million workers of the country that were away from work in the week of reference, nearly 9,7 million persons received no salary from work. This total represented 51.3% of the persons away from their work and corresponded to 11.5% of the total employed. Northeast and North had the highest percentages of persons away and without payment: 55.3% and 53.2% of off-duty persons and 16.8% and 15.0% of the employed population of the region, respectively.

Employed persons and persons temporarily off-duty – May 2020

  Employed (thousand persons) Off-duty and unpaid (thousand persons) Percentage of off-duty,  unpaid workers among the off-duty (%) Percentage of off-duty,  unpaid workers among the employed (%)
Brazil 84 404 9 728 51.3 11.5
North 6 372 953 53.2 15.0
Northeast 18 830 3 164 55.3 16.8
Southeast 38 077 4 192 50.9 11.0
South 13 949 828 41.9 5.9
Central-West 7 176 591 47.8 8.2

Domestic workers without a formal labor contract have the highest off-duty rate due to the pandemic

Among the employment types surveyed by PNAD COVID19, the highest percentages of persons away due to the pandemic were with the domestic workers without a formal contract (33.6%), the non-statutory officials without a formal contract (29.8%) and the private sector employees without a formal labor contract (22.9%).

In relation to the activity groups, that of Agriculture, forestry, fishing and aquaculture recorded the lowest percentage of off-duty persons (6.8%), whereas Other services (37.8%), Domestic services (28.9%) and Lodging and food (28.5%) had the highest proportion of off-duty workers.

Remote work prevails among higher-degree workers

Nearly 77.5% of the total employed (or 65.4 million) were not off-duty. Among the ones on duty, 8.7 million worked from home (remotely), which equals 13.3% of the employed population that was on duty.  

The percentage of women working from home (17.9%) surpassed that of men (10.3%). Among the persons with a higher degree or postgraduate course completed, 38.3% were working from home. The percentages were very low among those uneducated and with incomplete primary education (0.6%), as well as for the complete primary education and incomplete secondary education (1.7%). For those with complete secondary education and incomplete higher degree, the percentage was at 7.9%.

Average hours actually worked below usually worked per week

In Brazil and in all regions, the number of hours actually worked by the employed persons not away from work fell. The average number of usually worked hours was of 39.6 hours per week, against 27.4 weekly actually worked hours. The greatest gap between the usual and actual hours was seen in the Northeast.

In Brazil, in May, 18.3 million employed persons and on duty (or 27.9% of this contingent) worked less actual hours than usual hours.

Conversely, nearly 2.4 million employed persons worked above their usual hours, which corresponded to 3.6% of the employed persons on duty. In the Major Regions, this percentage changed from 2.7% in the South to 4.1% in the Southeast.

Actual workers’ earnings stand 18.2% lower than usual earnings

The usual earnings from all jobs stood, on average, at R$2,320 for Brazil, and the actual one, at R$1,899, i. e., the actual represented 81.8% of the usual earnings. Northeast and Southeast recorded the highest differences, respectively: 80.3% and 80.7% between the actual and the usual earnings.

Indicators of the average real earnings of the employed workers with income from work (R$) – May 2020

  Brazil North Northeast Southeast South Central- West
Usual earnings 2,320 1,789 1,643 2,634 2,501 2,532
Actual earnings 1,899 1,495 1,319 2,126 2,099 2,168
Usual real average wage bill 192,957 11,064 30,355 99,363 34,189 17,986
Actual real average wage bill 157,914 9,248 24,380 80,196 28,691 15,400
Actual/usual earnings ratio 81.8 83.6 80.3 80.7 83.9 85.6

Persons out of the workforce due to the pandemic prevail in the Northeast

In May, there were 75.4 million persons out of the workforce in Brazil, of whom 34.9% were not job searching, but would like to work, and 24.5% did not go job searching mainly because of the pandemic or because there were no job offers in their place of residence, but they would also like to work. In the Northeast and North, the share of workers out of the workforce that would like to work, but did not search for a job was above 30%.

The sum of the population out of the workforce that would like to work, but did not go job searching, and the unemployed population, results in 36.4 million persons pressing the labor market for some kind of occupation or would have been pressing it, had they sought work. When the reason for not searching for a job was related to the pandemic or to lack of job offer in their locality, the total of persons was of 28.6 million.

Unemployed and persons out of the workforce that would like to work, but did not go job searching  - May

38.7% of the households received some kind of monetary aid related to the pandemic

The proportion of households that received some king of aid due to the pandemic was for Brazil of 38.7% of the total, the North and Northeast Regions were the ones with the highest percentages, 55.0% and 54.8%, respectively. Among the aids are the Emergency Aid and the supplement from the Government by means of the Emergency Program for Maintenance of Employment and Income. The average values received by the households, for Brazil, was of R$847.

Percentage of households receiving aid related to the pandemic and average value received

4.2 million persons presented combined symptoms related to COVID-19

In the households visited by the PNAD COVID19 in May, residents were asked if, in the week before the interview, some of them had: fever; cough; sore-throat; breathing difficulties; headache; chest pain; nausea; stuffy or runny nose; loss of taste or smell; fatigue; eye pain; and muscle pain. Symptoms were reported by the residents, not necessarily with a doctor diagnosis.

Many studies in the area of health identified symptoms that can be associated to the coronavirus. In that sense, and based on those studies, it was possible to combine the symptoms to present a summary indicator. The sets of symptoms used were: loss of smell or taste, or cough and fever and breathing difficulties, or cough and chest pain.

In May, nearly 24 million persons (or 11.4% of the population) reported some of the symptoms of flu-syndromes. Loss of smell or taste was informed by 1.8% of the population (3.8 million persons). Next came cough, fever and breathing difficulties (0.5% or 1.0 million persons) and cough, fever and chest pain (0.5% or 991 thousand persons).

North Region has greatest percentage of persons with flu-syndrome symptoms

The North Region presents the greatest percentage of persons with some flu-like symptom (18.3% or 3.3 million persons), as well as the biggest percentage of persons with some of the combined symptoms (7.8% or 1.4 million persons). On the other hand, the Central-West had the lowest percentages: 7.3% or 1.2 million persons with some symptom and 0.4% or 73 thousand persons with some of the combined symptoms.

On terms of the summary indicator, 4.2 million persons (or 2.0 of the population) presented combined symptoms of flu-syndrome that could be associated to COVID-19 (loss of smell or taste or fever, or cough and breathing difficulties or fever, or cough and chest pain).

The percentages of persons that reported having some of the symptoms of flu-like syndromes were higher in Amapá (26.6%), Pará (21.3%), Amazonas (18.9%), Ceará (16.5%) and Maranhão (15.1%). Those same states recorded the highest percentages of persons with combined symptoms.

Percentage of persons with some of the flu-like symptoms in the population (%)

58.2% persons with some of the flu-like symptoms were blacks or browns

Among those who had any of the flu-like symptoms surveyed, 56.7% were women, 50.6% were aged 30 to 59, 58.2% were self-declared black or brown persons, 32.8% had not finished the primary education and 34.8% had either complete secondary or incomplete higher education.

Among those that had any of the combined symptoms, women represented 57.4 and self-declared black or brown, 70.0% Among the age groups, the highest percentage was with persons aged 30 to 59 (55.2%), followed by those aged 20 to 29 (21.1%) and the elderly aged 60 and over (11.1%).

3.8 million persons with symptoms sought care and 74.8% of them did it in the public health system.

Nearly 15.7% (or 3.8 million) persons with any of the surveyed symptoms sought care in health centers, a percentage which was of 31.3% among those that presented one of the combined symptoms (or 1.3 million persons).

Most persons sought care in public health facilities (health centers, family-health programs, UPA-Emergency Care Units, SUS Emergency Rooms or Hospitals):  74.8% of those with one of the symptoms and 78.2% of those with some of the combined symptoms.

In the public sphere, primary care stood out as the main location to go for health care in May, with 1.7 thousand (44.6%) persons with some of the symptoms and 605 thousand (45.6%) persons with some of the combined symptoms. The search for SUS emergency rooms or hospitals (public, private or military) was also big, respectively 29.0% and 34.2% among those with combined symptoms and 23.6% and 29.7% among those with some of the surveyed symptoms.

In May, 31 thousand persons with some of the surveyed symptoms were intubated

Among the persons that sought care in hospitals, 10.1% (113 thousand) of those that presented some of the symptoms surveyed and 13.5% (61 thousand) of those presenting some of the combined symptoms needed hospitalization. The majority of the hospitalized persons were men (59.4% and 62.3%, respectively) and blacks or browns (56.3% and 61.3%, respectively). Besides, more than 40% were elderly above 60 years old. Among the hospitalized persons, 27,2 (31 thousand) of those that presented some of the surveyed symptoms and 36.1% (22 thousand) of those with some of the combined symptoms needed to be sedated, intubated and ventilated.