Unemployment in Brazil has hit a record figure of 14.2 million workers. According to the National Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA), almost 70 percent are between the ages of 18 and 39. Moreover, half of those people have never studied at the university level.
The highest rates are in the age bracket between 25 and 39 (35.4 percent); in second place are ages 18 through 24 (31.7 percent). They are typically less experienced and have lower wages, making it easier for companies to let them go – especially during a time of economic crisis, such as the one Brazil is currently facing.
Half of the workers that looked for a job in the first trimester are between 14 and 24. Among those, 35 percent have completed high school.
Unemployment has been rising sharply in Brazil. In 2015’s first trimester the country had 7.9 million unemployed. Within two years, the number skyrocketed to 14.2 million.
Finance Minister says unemployment will drop soon
Even though the numbers seem frightening, Brazil’s Finance Minister is optimistic. Henrique Meirelles declared on Twitter that unemployment will start to go down in August. His optimism comes from the fact that in April, unemployment rate stopped rising for the first time in three years. Last month a total of 58,900 new jobs were created, according to the Labor Ministry.
However, Meirelles did not provide evidence to back his bold prediction. The finance minister also said the “effects of such a strong recession do not disappear overnight.”
The government has been claiming that Brazil’s recession will end soon, and that’s what Henrique Meirelles told Bloomberg News back in April. Forecasts have Brazil growing between 0.5 and 0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter in the three months ending in March. Meirelles expects a 2.7-percent expansion when compared to 2016’s last quarter.
Future may not be so bright according to ILO
The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) projections for 2017 seem to disagree with Henrique Meirelles. The entity forecasts that 3.4 million people will lose their jobs this year. Furthermore, Brazil alone will represent one-third of the global rise in unemployment.
With 1.2 million newly unemployed people, there will be a total of 13.6 million Brazilians without a job – i.e. 12.4 percent of the population. Since the Brazilian economy is slowly recovering from its worst recession in a century, the unemployment rate should increase further in 2018 as well.
2016 was a rough year for Brazil. Unemployment rates reached 11.9 percent in the last trimester ending in November, counting 12.1 million Brazilians out of work. This is the highest level of unemployment since 2012, when the national research institute IBGE first began to record such numbers.