Unemployment rate goes from 13.3% to 14.6% in third quarter

Approximately 14.1 million people are looking for a job

Published in 27/11/2020 - 12:57 By Cristina Indio do Brasil - Rio de Janeiro

Brazil’s unemployment rate reached 14.5 percent in the third quarter of the year, up 1.3 percentage point from the previous quarter (13.3%). This is the highest rate in this time series, which started in 2012, and accounts for 14.1 million people, the government’s statistics agency IBGE announced today (Nov. 27).

“Unemployed people in line in search of work in the country totaled upwards of 1.3 million,” stated IBGE, which published the quarterly Continuous PNAD (National Household Sample Survey), on July–September 2020.

Also according to the study, the unemployment rate grew in ten of the 27 Brazilian states and held steady in the remainder. The highest levels were observed in Bahia (20.7%), Sergipe (20.3%), and Alagoas (20%). Santa Catarina (6.6%) exhibited the lowest.

In the view of research analyst Adriana Beringuy, the increase in joblessness reflects the loosening of social isolation measures for the control of the COVID-19 pandemic. More pressure was exerted on the labor market in the third quarter, she argues.

“In April and May, social distancing measures still influenced people’s decision of not looking for work. After these measures were relaxed, we started seeing a larger number looking for a job,” she said.


The percentage of employed workers dropped 1.1 percent (88 thousand fewer people) from the second quarter, adding up to 82.5 million. This, IBGE reports, is the lowest level in the time series initiated in 2021. Thus, the employment index stood at 47.1 percent, which is also the lowest in the series, and represents a 0.8 percentage point reduction compared to the previous quarter (47.9%).

According to IBGE data, since the quarter ended in May, the employment rate is below 50 percent, “which indicates that less than half of the population at working age is employed in the country.”

All categories have lost in employment, Beringuy pointed out. Furthermore, the number of people with formal jobs was 29.4 million, with a 2.6 percent slide in the third quarter from compared to the previous one. The loss comprised 788 thousand job openings.

Informal jobs

Informality was reported at 38.4 percent in the quarter ended in September. The percentage corresponds to 31.6 million people with no registered occupation, employed in the private sector or household workers not registered as firms, or workers with no remuneration. In the previous quarter, this figure was 36.9 percent.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Kleber Sampaio / Nira Foster

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