Brazil unemployment

This page is about the unemployment rate, calculated by IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), as one important measure of the health of the economy and, specifically, the household sector.

Note this page is only updated quarterly.


9 May 2013.

The unemployment rate in Brazil has dropped fairly steadily from about 13% in 2002 to 5.7% in Mar 2013.


9 May 2013. Data through Mar.


  • Background: The unemployment rate is defined in the normal OECD way. See details in clippings for 10 Nov 2011 below.


  • Historical data should be available from IBGE → Indicators → Labor and Income → Monthly employment survey → Time series → complete tables → unemployed people → unemployment rate. The downloaded excel table has data up until a few months ago. Then look at recent news to bring it up to date.
  • The monthly presentation from the central bank has a graph: Sometimes it can be found either on the Banco Central do Brasil home page or on home → About us → Presentations and texts
  • The most recent 2 years of data can be found on the BCB home page → Economic indicators → Unemployment rate
  • Trading Economics also has recent data.

See also

Clippings below were used in the construction of this page

Brazil unemployment is defined in the standard way, 1

Undated; accessed 10 Nov 2011. Note on IBGE historical data series.

“Definição: pessoas desocupadas (semana de referência)

Pessoas sem trabalho na semana de referência, mas que estavam disponíveis para assumir um trabalho nessa semana e que tomaram alguma providência efetiva para conseguir trabalho no período de referência de 30 dias, sem terem tido qualquer trabalho ou após terem saído do último trabalho que tiveram nesse período.”

Brazil unemployment is defined in the standard way, 2

Undated; accessed 10 Nov 2011. OECD translation of a more lengthy IBGE source.

“Country: Brazil Subject: Unemployment

Direct source Institute of Geography and Statistics, Brazil

Country: BRAZIL Subject: Unemployment > Rate > Survey-based

Name of collection/source

Each month about 40 000 households in the metropolitan areas of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Recife and Salvador are interviewed in the Monthly Employment Survey.

Population coverage

People aged 10 and over are covered by the sample.

Key statistical concept

The unemployment rate during the reference week is the percentage of the unemployed population during the reference week in relation to the economically active population this week.

The economically active population during the reference week comprises employed and unemployed persons aged 10 or over during the reference week.

The employed persons during the reference week comprise of persons aged 10 or over who performed paid or unpaid work for at least one complete hour during the reference week or who had a job but were temporarily not at work during this week.

Since 2001, persons are considered as employed but temporarily away from paid work when they did not work for at least one complete hour during the reference week due to vacation, strike, temporary suspension of formal contract, leave paid by the employer, bad weather conditions or other occasional factors. Similarly, persons considered employed are those who on the reference date were away due to leave paid by social security for a period not longer than twenty-four months, were away from own business due to pregnancy, illness or accident, not on leave by social security in a period not over three months; due to voluntary absence or other reason, for a period not over thirty days.

According to the previous methodology, every person who had a job during the reference period but did not work was regarded as an employed person.

The unemployed population during the reference week comprises the persons aged 10 or over without a job during the reference week, but who were available to get a job this week and took effective steps to do that in the reference period of 30 days, without having any job or after quitting the last job they had during this period.

Seeking work is regarded as taking effective steps to get a job that is, contacting employers; taking or applying for contests; contacting job agencies, unions or similar institutions; answering or placing job advertisements; seeking assistance of relatives or friends in order to get a job; taking steps to establish own business, among others.

Other comments

Annual and quarterly data are averages of monthly figures. ”