BRASILIA: Brazil’s economy shed jobs in December for the first time in six months, official figures showed on Thursday, but that did not prevent an overall rise in new positions opened last year despite the lockdown measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
A net 67,906 formal jobs were lost in December, the Economy Ministry said, less than the decline of 115,000 forecast in a Reuters poll of economists and the smallest decline for that month since 1995.
The Economy Ministry said December’s fall was due to seasonal trends. But the surge in job growth in the second half of last year meant that the economy ended up creating a net 142,690 formal positions despite the deep recession.
“The great news for us in a terrible year, when GDP fell 4.5%, is that we created 142,000 new jobs,” Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said in online remarks, adding that these figures confirmed Brazil’s ‘V-shaped’ economic recovery.
In 2015 and 2016, when Brazil was last in recession, the economy shed around 2.8 million formal jobs over the two calendar years.
Guedes said that government measures last year to help companies get through the crisis helped save 11 million jobs.
Government figures on Thursday showed that 1.24 million jobs were created in December and 1.31 million were cut.
In the calendar year, 15.17 million jobs were created and 15.02 million were lost, the ministry said. The overall increase was led by construction and manufacturing, while the dominant services sector was the only sector to cut positions.
The figures also showed the formal labor market in December consisted of 39 million workers, little changed from November.
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