Letter IEDI n. 1139—Pandemic and industrial employment
The Brazilian labor market, in 2021, was unable to fully recover from the effects of the 2020 pandemic. Although there was an increase of about 4.5 million people employed in the private sector in 2021, in the previous year the decrease had been of approximately 7.5 million. That is, between 2019 and 2021, the number of people employed in the private sector decreased by about 3.0 million (-3.6%).
In 2021, the manufacturing industry was able to recover 74.4% of the jobs lost in 2020, when comparing quarterly averages. In services, the percentage of job recovery was lower, 44.1%. It should be noted, however, that agriculture and construction were the only major economic sectors to reach, in 2021, a higher level than 2019 in terms of total employed workers.
Formal employment also followed this partial movement of recovery in 2021, closing the year 4.5% below 2019. It is worth remembering that formal employment was less impacted than other forms of work in 2020, because many of these occupations could be adapted to teleworking, but also thanks to emergency measures adopted by the government, such as the suspension or reduction of working hours.
In any case, the recovery in formal employment was less intense than the total posts in the private sector. In 2021, manufacturing was the sector that came closest to being able to recreate the formal jobs lost in 2020, signaling a residual decrease of only 1.2% in relation to 2019.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, formal occupation, both in the manufacturing industry and in the other economic activities of the private sector, grew in the year-on-year comparison, but at a slower pace than in the previous quarter. This suggests a loss of momentum of the recovery of this type of occupation.
In manufacturing, the number of employees increased in 20 segments in the 4th quarter of 2021, in the year-on-year comparison, while falling in another three. The positive highlights were production of coke, petroleum products and biofuels (+28.4%), of wood products (+25.6%) and of rubber and plastic (+21.7%).
In terms of industrial segments by technological intensity, the high-tech group had a sizeable reduction in formal occupation in the 4th quarter (-17.7%), while the other categories had positive results, with emphasis on the medium intensity group (+11.3%).
The average real income of employed people, in turn, decreased in the manufacturing industry as well as in the private sector as a whole. In addition to the effect of inflation, between the 4th quarter of 2020 and the same period of 2021, the increase in occupancy have also probably occurred with lower wages compared to the previous average.