Brazil Unemployment

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Unemployment in Brazil grew significantly during the later part of the 1990s. During 1995 to 1999, unemployment in Brazil grew at a rate of around 10%. High unemployment during this period led to much social unrest in Brazil. In 1998, unemployment rate rose to its highest in Brazil. According to official figures, the unemployment rate for the first six months of 1998 in Brazil was 7.8%. However labor unions were not willing to accept this figure claiming that the actual figure was much higher, almost twice the official figure.

However after 2000, unemployment rates in Brazil have been more or less stable with minor fluctuations. The average rate of unemployment in Brazil, post 2000, has been around 10%. Unemployment statistics of Brazil show an unemployment rate of 6.4% in 2003. In 2004, the unemployment rate rose significantly to reach 12.3%. There was a minor fall in 2005 with unemployment rate being 11.5%. In 2006, the unemployment rate of Brazil fell further to 9.8%. This was followed by a further fall in 2007 to 9.6%.

In 2003, unemployment in Sao Paolo metropolitan area reached 20%. Sao Paolo is the largest city of Brazil and a major driver of economic growth. 1.969 million people were unemployed in Sao Paolo during this period. The six metropolitan hubs of Brazil are considered to be major economic hubs and account for the vast majority of the urban employment in Brazil.

In January 2006, unemployment rate in the six major metropolitan areas of Brazil was 9.2%. This was a sharp rise from 8.3% in December 2006. As per reports of IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), this sharp increase is due to seasonal effects. Many people are hired in the metropolitan areas of Brazil during the holidays. These people loose their jobs once the holiday season is over. This results in a sharp rise in unemployment rates after the holiday season.

Brazil has a very high population which is a major cause of its unemployment problem. It has the second highest population, after the United States of America, in the western hemisphere. Unemployment has been under control in Brazil since 2003. Some of the important aspects related to unemployment in Brazil are –

The working population of Brazil which was estimated to be 125 million in 2006 is expected to reach 147.8 million by 2020.
Urban unemployment was 10% in 2006. It dropped to 9.5% in July 2007.
The service sector employs the maximum number of people in Brazil. 65% of Brazils working population is engaged in the service sector.
Agriculture accounts for 20% of the working population.
15% of the working population of Brazil is engaged in the industrial sector.
In 2006, women workers constituted 42.5% of the total workforce of Brazil.

Some of the major highlights of unemployment in Brazil in recent years are –

Decline in urban unemployment from 12.3% in 2003 to 9.5% in July 2007
Service sector growth has played a major role in decreasing the unemployment rate of Brazil
Unemployment rate of women has shown a downward trend in recent years