Unemployment soars in Brazil due to virus
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Brazil's unemployment rate rose to almost 13% in the March-May quarter as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic saw a record 7.8 million jobs cut, according to official figures published on Tuesday, June 30.
Unemployment rose by 1.3 percentage points from the December-February quarter and 0.6 points compared with the same quarter last year, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) said.
Chile and Colombia also reported jumps in unemployment.
It was the biggest loss of jobs in Brazil since record-keeping began in 2012.
"It's an unprecedented reduction and mainly affects informal workers," said IBGE analyst Adriana Beringuy.
Of the 7.8 million jobs lost, 5.8 million were in the informal sector of people who get paid off the books, which accounts for 37.6% of workers in this country.
Employment fell by 8.3% to 49.5%, another record.
The government is looking into extending an aid package it provides for informal workers and the most affected families that began in April and is worth 600 reales ($111) a month.
Lockdown measures imposed by various states have also resulted in 1.2 million domestic workers losing their jobs, said IBGE, which estimates there to be 5 million people employed in such service in Brazil.
More than 1.3 million Brazilians have contracted the coronavirus, with over 58,000 having died from it.
Industrial production in Latin America's biggest economy fell by more than 25% in March and April.
The International Monetary Fund expects the Brazilian economy to shrink by over 9% in 2020.
Chile's unemployment jumped to 11.2% in the same March-May quarter, the national statistics institute (INE) said.
The rate increased 4 percentage points over the last year and 9% compared to the previous sliding quarter from February to April.
The worst affected areas are restaurants, with a 42% increase, construction (23%) and business (19%).
Chile has recorded 270,000 coronavirus cases and 5,500 deaths, although it has another 3,500 suspected fatalities from the virus.
Colombia's urban unemployment rose to 24.5% in May, the national statistics department (DANE) said.
That's double the percentage of the same period in 2019 and an increase of 1% on April.
Overall unemployment is up to 21.4% meaning 5 million people have lost their jobs since May 2019.
Colombia has registered 95,000 coronavirus infections and more than 3,200 deaths. – Rappler.com