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Informal Jobs Drive Employment Recovery in Brazil

02/01/2018 - 10h31

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LUCAS VETTORAZZO
FROM RIO DE JANEIRO

The decline in unemployment was one of the marks of 2017 in Brazil. The country had seen the number of jobs decline for two years due to the crisis. The recovery began in 2017; however, it was driven mostly by informal jobs.

The Pnad Contínua, the official employment survey by the IBGE, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, which includes the entire country, shows that Brazil created 1.8 million new jobs last year. These jobs, however, are off the books or self employed, often paying lower salaries.

The total of informal (11.1 million) and self employed (23.1 million) jobs surpass by nearly one million the number of formal workers (33.3 million). The total regulated jobs declined by 685,000 – while the number of self-employed workers increased by 1.07 million, and workers off the books rose by 598,000.

The Brazilian government is commemorating the decline in unemployment rates; however, it knows that the news does not mean good business, as informal workers and those employing them do not pay the mandatory taxes. In 2017 alone, for example, 1.09 million workers did not pay their public social security taxes.

Four economists interviewed by Folha said that they believe the current wave of informal jobs is not necessarily bad as these jobs are a simple and direct substitute for unemployment. They say that a bad job is better than no job.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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