In comparative terms with the rest of Latin America, Brazil was one of the most resistant in terms of unemployment during the coronavirus crisis. That's because the economy persisted in reopening, regardless of the country's growing numbers of infected and dead.

According to data from the Ministry of Economy, the number of formal jobs lost was 331,901 last month, less than half of the 860,503 lost in April. Far below the expectations of economists surveyed by Bloomberg in a survey, the consensus pointed to 900,000 jobs lost.

In addition, despite starting the year badly, having one of the worst performances of 2020, the national currency begins to have a slight recovery.

Economists predict job losses to 900,000 in May. Source: Bloomberg

According to Social Security Secretary Bruno Bianco, the services and construction sectors benefited from this, in addition to the 15,993 employees in the agriculture sector, the only one with net hires.

The better than expected results are a reflection of the reopening of stores and malls and the resumption of construction in several states and municipalities. According to Bloomberg, this would be a risky strategy, given that the pandemic is far from being controlled in Brazil, with the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths still increasing.

"There is also the possibility that the government program that allows companies to cut wages and keep jobs is having an effect," said Adriana Dupita, senior economist at Bloomberg Economics.

Bianco concluded by saying that the employment protection program will continue to work for another two months, and added that the government will announce a new stimulus plan for job creation. Since May, Brazil has suffered 1.14 million unemployment.

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