The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, IGBE, released its report for the trimester showing that a record 7.8 million people lost their jobs in the country. Of them, 5.8 million were workers in the informal sector.
The institute put the figure of people who are still working in Brazil at the end of May at just 49.5%. “For the first time in the survey survey history, the level of occupation was 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 of the working age population is working,” Beringuy added. Brazil’s minimum legal working age is 14.
The total number of Brazilians in the work force stands at 85.9 million, an 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 are pointing to a historic economic recession in Brazil due to coronavirus, which has already decimated an struggling economy.
The Brazilian Central Bank estimates a 6.4% drop in GDP for this year, while The Monetary International Fund is more pessimistic and predicts a 9.1% fall for 2020.