The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, IGBE, released its report for the trimester which showed that a record 7.8 million people lost their jobs in the country. Of those, 5.8 million are workers in the informal sector.
The agency said the number of people still working in Brazil at the end of May was only 49.5%. “For the first time in a series of historical surveys, the employment rate is below 50%,” IBGE said in a statement.
Since data collection began in 2012, “this has never happened,” IGBE analyst Adriana Beringuy said in a statement.
“This means that less than half the working age population is employed,” Beringuy added. Brazil’s minimum legal working age is 14.
The total number of Brazilians in the workforce is 85.9 million, a 8.3% contraction from the same period last year.
And the unemployment rate in Latin America’s largest economy rose to 12.3% at the end of May, affecting 12.7 million people, the highest level since the same three-month period in 2018.
Economists point to a historic economic recession in Brazil because of the coronavirus, which has destroyed a struggling economy.
The Brazilian Central Bank estimates a decline in GDP of 6.4% for this year, while the International Monetary Fund is more pessimistic and predicts a 9.1% decline for 2020.