Brazil breaks records with over 100 million employed workers

Unemployment of 7.6% is the lowest since 2015, IBGE reported

Published on 01/12/2023 - 11:46 By Bruno de Freitas Moura - Agência Brasil - Rio de Janeiro

For the first time in history, Brazil has surpassed 100 million employed workers, as revealed by a recent survey conducted by the government´s statistic agency IBGE. The data, released on Thursday (Nov. 30), highlights a record-breaking figure of 100.2 million employed individuals, marking an increase of 862,000 over the last three months.

During the August-October quarter, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent, the lowest since February 2015 when it stood at 7.5 percent. This signifies a 0.3 percentage point decrease compared to the average from May to July 2023, and a notable improvement from the 8.3 percent rate recorded in the same period last year.

The number of unemployed individuals decreased by 261,000 to reach 8.3 million people, indicating a 3.6 percent decline compared to the previous quarter.

Formal contracts

In terms of formal contracts, the private sector (excluding domestic workers) saw a surge in the number of employees, reaching 37.4 million, the highest since January 2015. This favorable balance of 587,000 individuals (1.6%) with formal contracts in the last three months is a positive sign.

The number of self-employed workers reached 25.6 million, an increase of 317,000 (+1.3%) in the same comparison.

Adriana Beringuy, coordinator of Household Sample Surveys at IBGE, elucidates that “both employees and self-employed individuals played a role in the quarter's employment growth.”

The informality rate stood at 39.1 percent of the employed population, equivalent to 39.2 million informal workers, remaining stable compared to the previous year.


The average real income of workers reached BRL 2,999, marking a 1.7 percent increase over the quarter ending in June and a 3.9 percent increase compared to the same period last year. This is the highest income figure since the quarter ending in July 2020 (BRL 3,152).

The IBGE attributes this positive trend to the continued expansion among employed individuals with formal contracts, typically associated with higher incomes. "The interpretatioin we can make is that there is a quantitative gain, with an increase in the employed population, and a qualitative gain, with an increase in average income," explains Beringuy.

Translation: Mário Nunes -  Edition: Graça Adjuto

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