With an unemployment rate currently at 11.1%, even if still high, Brazil is already sailing at slightly better levels than in 2019, the last year before the pandemic hit the country. March data were released on Friday (29) by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
Recovery and opportunities, however, are not the same for this contingent of 11.9 million Brazilians who are still looking for a job.
The detailed breakdown of the numbers shows that there is great inequality in the labor market, whether between regions, between different ages or the level of education of each one .
Between the women for example, the unemployment rate is still 13.4%, while for men is at 9.2%, according to IBGE data for the 4th quarter of 2021, the most recent available.
At the North East , whose economy is very dependent on services and which suffers the most in recovering, the unemployment rate is 13.8%. It’s a very different number than Midwest (9.5%) and the South (6.8%), where the main agricultural centers in the country are located.
In Santa Catarina , one of the largest chicken producers in the country, the unemployment rate is only 5.4%, the lowest in Brazil. In soybean and corn producers Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul is in the range of 6%.
At Bahia on the other hand, where the worst rates are, 16.5% of workers are still without a job.
“The recovery of the labor market has not been occurring evenly across economic sectors,” says brokerage Genial Investimentos in a report to clients.
“Some sectors (agriculture, public administration and services provided to companies) have felt the effects of the pandemic less and already have more people employed today than in the pre-pandemic period. However, other sectors, mainly linked to the provision of services, were severely affected and have not yet recovered”, continues the analysis.
There is more time looking
Another trait of unemployment that came with the pandemic is the longer time it takes people to get back into the market.
A survey carried out by economist Bruno Imaizumi, from LCA Consultores, shows that the proportion of workers without a job for more than two years – precisely the duration of the pandemic so far – has never been greater than it is now.
In the last quarter of 2021, 30.3% of the unemployed were looking for work for two years or more, the highest proportion since at least 2012, when the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) began to be carried out by the IBGE.
“This is the most worrying fact, because the longer a person is without a job, the more difficult it is for them to be replaced,” said Imaizumi. “And it is worrying for the economy as a whole, because they are people who are able to work, but are losing productivity.”
Harder for the young, easier for the grads
Another striking feature of this crisis is the high unemployment among young which commonly end up being harmed by competition with the most experienced in a scenario of tight supply of vacancies.
According to IBGE data, the unemployment rate among those aged between 18 and 24 is 23% and, for adolescents aged 14 to 17, it jumps to 39%. In the 25-59 age groups, this rate varies from 6% to 10%.
The good news is that as the job market recovers, younger people will also benefit.
“Young people were the ones who lost the most during the pandemic, but now they are also finding jobs faster,” said Maria Andréia Lameiras, a researcher at the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) for the job market.
“Today they represent 31% of the total unemployed; at times it was as high as 34%,” he added.
At the other end, the professionals with higher education form the group most insulated against fluctuations in the job market: the unemployment rate among them is only 5.6%.
Among those with incomplete high school the level of unemployment jumps to 18.4%.
“Recent data from Pnad are very good, unemployment has already returned to pre-pandemic levels and shows that people are indeed managing to find a job”, says Lameiras, from Ipea.
“The problem is that the number of unemployed in 2017 or 2018 was already high. The pandemic is a problem that we have already overcome, but we still have a long way to go,” he added.
Source: CNN Brasil
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