Unemployment up 27.6% in four months of pandemic

Brazil’s unemployed population in August encompassed 12.9 million people, up 0.5 percentage points from July to August, meaning the percentage of unemployed people within the country’s economically active population went 13.1 to 13.6 percent.

The figures come from the monthly issue of the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) COVID-19, released today (Sep. 23) by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

Compared to May, when the survey started associating unemployment and COVID-19, the surge reached 27.6 percent in August.

In August, PNAD COVID-19 estimated Brazil’s employed population at 84.4 million people, up 0.8 percent from July, but still bringing a 2.8 percent decline from May.

The South was the only region to show a reduction in the unemployed population (2.4 percent). The Northeast (14.3%) and the North (10.3%) witnessed the most significant growths.

Unemployment among women was 16.2 percent, higher than its male counterpart, 11.7 percent. The difference is also seen in all Brazilian regions. By skin color or race, in both all of Brazil and each region, the rate was higher among black or brown people (15.3%) than among whites (11.5%).

By age groups, the younger showed higher unemployment rates—23.3 percent for those aged 14 through 29. As for education, those with a university or post-graduate degrees had the lowest rates—6.8 percent.

Emergency allowance

In August, the percentage of households where at least one of the residents received some benefit to tackle the effects of the pandemic stood at 43.9 percent in the country, most of which in the North (61%) and the Northeast (59.1%). The average amount of the benefit received by the population was $165.84 per household.

Of the types of benefits surveyed are the emergency allowance, directed at informal workers, individual micro entrepreneurs, self-employed and unemployed, and the federal government’s complement through the Emergency Program for the Maintenance of Employment and Income.

Amapá, with 71.4 percent, was the state with the largest proportion of homes where residents are benefited by emergency allowance initiative, followed by Maranhão, with 65.5 percent, and Pará, with 64.5 percent.

“This rate was steady in virtually all states. The total of households that received the allowance saw a sharp increase from May to June, and from June to July it practically did not grow, holding steady in August,” research coordinator Maria Lucia Vieira said in a note.

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