The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, IGBE, released its report for the quarter showing that a record 7.8 million people lost their jobs in the country. Of these, 5.8 million were informal sector workers.
The institute put the number of people still working in Brazil at the end of May at only 49.5%.
Since data collection began in 2012, “this had never happened,” IGBE analyst Adriana Beringuy said in a statement.
“This means that less than half of the working-age population works,” Beringuy added. Brazil’s legal minimum age is 14 years.
The total number of Brazilians in the workforce stands at 85.9 million, a contraction of 8.3% over the same period last year.
And the unemployment rate in Latin America’s largest economy rose to 12.3% at the end of May, affecting 12.7 million people, the highest level since the same three-month period in 2018 .
Economists point to a historic economic recession in Brazil due to the coronavirus, which has delineated an already struggling economy.
The Brazilian Central Bank estimates a fall in GDP of 6.4% this year, while the International Monetary Fund is more pessimistic and predicts a fall of 9.1% in 2020.