Brazil’s Minister of Labor, Carlos Lupi, presented some preliminary numbers on employment in 2009 at a news conference in Brasília. He will present the official numbers later this month.
According to Lupi, as everyone knows, Brazil got sucked into the international financial crisis later than most countries, managed to avoid the worst consequences of the crisis and then escaped earlier than most countries.
Employment numbers for 2009 and 2008 present a picture of what happened. Although an estimated 1.1 million new jobs were created in 2009, which is certainly good news in light of what has happened in many other places, Lupi pointed out that that was 350,000 fewer new jobs than in 2008.
Brazil was not completely unscathed by the crisis, in other words. Even so, the minister pointed out, the numbers are confounding all the pessimists.
Lupi also pointed out that it is normal for a sharp reduction of jobs to occur at the end of December, after the holiday season. He said the December negative employment average was 300,000.
But, last year the crisis did raise its ugly head in Brazil and the number of jobs lost at the end of December 2008 reached 650,000. “That was atypical,” said the minister. “This year we expect things to get back to normal. Losses should be between 200,000 and 300,000.”
According to Lupi, Brazil’s labor market is strong because the country has inflation under control, purchasing power has risen with increases in the minimum wage and domestic demand continues high. He said expectations are that 2010 will be better.
Construction was one of the hardest hit sectors in 2008, but recovered in 2009 and should expand vigorously in 2010, he predicts. “The outlook for 2010 is positive. We should create two million jobs,” declared the minister.
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