Inflation is the subject of almost all debates involving the Brazilian economy, whether among specialists or in conversations in line at the supermarket. However, there is another big variable that worries the consumer: the job market. According to data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) this Friday, 29, there are 11.9 million Brazilians in search of employment in the country. The number is stable in relation to the previous quarter, ended in December. Something that stands out in Pnad Contínua, however, is that the employed population retreated after three consecutive quarters of growth. The estimate is that there are 95.3 million people employed, which means 472,000 fewer people in the job market compared to December.
The occupation data is important to understand the job market because it reflects who is actually working. According to the IBGE methodology, those who are unemployed but are looking for a job are considered unemployed. So, the reduction or stability of unemployment does not necessarily mean that there are more people in employment.
According to the coordinator of Work and Income at IBGE, Adriana Beringuy, the stability of the unemployment rate is explained by the fact that there was no growth in the search for work in the quarter. The scenario is different from that presented in the other quarters ended in March, when, due to the seasonality effect, there was an increase in the demand for work. “If we look at unemployment in retrospect, through the historical series of the survey, we can see that, in the first quarter, this population usually increases due to the dismissals that occurred at the beginning of the year. The quarter ending in March differed from these standards,” she says.
Regarding the decline in employment, the IBGE points out the reduction of self-employed workers as a determining factor. In the last quarter, there was a drop of 2.5%, which represents the departure of 660 thousand people from this category. Of this contingent, 475,000 were workers without a CNPJ. “Employees without a formal contract in the private sector were stable after three quarters of expansion. The number of self-employed workers had a retraction after five quarters of increase. In the quarter ended in March, this drop in self-employment accounted for the reduction in the total employed population”, comments the researcher.
Impacted by this retraction, the informality rate reached 40.1%, after a reduction of 0.6 percentage point. The number of informal workers fell by 1.9%, totaling 38.2 million. The participation of self-employed workers without CNPJ in this decline was 64%. On the other hand, the number of employers grew by 5.7%. There are 222 thousand more people. Formal work accounted for a good part of this number: 186 thousand of these employers had CNPJ.
The decrease in informality reflected in average income, which returned to growth after three quarters of decline. Income from work was estimated at 2,548 reais, an increase of 1.5% in relation to the quarter ended in December. “This increase is important if we consider that this indicator had been falling since the second quarter of last year. In general, when the participation of formal workers increases, the average income of the employed population tends to increase”, explains the coordinator. In comparison with the quarter ended in March last year, there was a drop of 8.7%. The income mass was stable compared to the previous quarter. It was estimated at 237.7 billion reais, also stable in comparison with the same period of the previous year.
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