Brazil’s Job Market Comes Roaring Back; Bolsonaro’s Job Approval Up

Brazil’s job market posted its biggest gains in 9 years in August, adding to a growing number of people who support president Jair Bolsonaro.

Jobs are returning to Brazil as lockdowns and other restrictions are lifted. August marked the second month in a row of more people getting back to real life, according to Labor Ministry data (CAGED). A net 249,388 jobs were either created, or people returned to work after layoffs caused by state’s restrictions on movement.

Brazil did not have a nationwide lockdown strategy, though some states and cities took it harder than others. Brazil has registered 143,952 deaths due to complications caused by the SARS 2 coronavirus, with over 4.8 million who have contracted the virus. Brazil is the third hardest hit country, though a lot of these numbers are due to the prevalence of testing. Hospitals are not overwhelmed in Brazil.

The coronavirus has had a huge impact on Brazil’s economy and its stock market. It’s a massive underperformer.

Yesterday’s CAGED numbers should give investors a reason to remain constructive on Brazil.

According to the CAGED figures, this was the best August for job growth since 2011, when a net 190,446 jobs were created. For the year, Brazil’s job market remains in turmoil thanks to the pandemic, with 849,387 jobs lost. It was the worst job destruction seen in Brazil since CAGED started reporting these numbers back in 2010.

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All sectors are benefiting from the lifting of restrictions, despite Brazil’s case load not in any meaningful decline. Public health authorities and the Bolsonaro Administration have taken a Sweden-style “move along” approach, keeping their eyes on hospital ICU demand.

Industry led in the job hiring in August, with over 92,890 people returning to work or constituting new hires in the sector.

Some 50,489 people returned to work on construction sites, including new hires. And Brazil’s automotive sector is ramping up, with 49,408 people back on the job, or newly hired, based on CAGED data.

The worst sector was supermarkets and food service, which closed over 14,000 positions in August. Schools laid off 7,601 teachers and other staff as Brazil, like the U.S., is doing at-distance learning, cutting the need for cafeteria and office staff, as well as teacher assistants and classes that cannot be taught effectively on line, such as lab technicians and sports coaches.

Brazil’s firebrand leader, Bolsonaro, is also edging up in approval ratings. He now has his highest approval rating since being elected in 2018.

Harshly criticized for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, Bolsonaro has been the equivalent of fingernails raking down a chalkboard for the globally sanctioned view of how to tackle and treat the coronavirus. Tackle by testing and lockdowns. Treat: no agreement.

Bolsonaro caught coronavirus over the winter months in Brazil and said he was taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Immediately, the political press in Brazil said he was faking the disease in order to push HCQ. At the height of the pandemic, Bolsonaro’s coronarivurs response was so despised that British science journal The Lancet actually called for his impeachment.

Fanfare for Bolsonaro is still nothing like Brazil has seen since the first election of left wing populist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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