BRASILIA, Brazil — President Jair Bolsonaro launched a jobs program Monday largely based on tax reductions as Brazil struggles to put more than 12 million people back to work.
The pension and
The jobs package comes amid stubborn double-digit unemployment as well as violent protests elsewhere in South America, including Chile, stemming partly from economic difficulties. Brazil’s economy is headed toward its third straight year of roughly 1% growth, following two years of deep recession, and patience is wearing thin.
“People between 18 and 29 have double the (average) unemployment rate. That is why we chose them to be beneficiaries,”
The rules are already in effect, but Brazil’s Congress must ratify them.
The administration’s tax cut aims to encourage employers to hire young people who haven’t had a job before and who are often drawn into low-paying informal
“The proposal attacks a market failure. Young people don’t have experience, so they don’t get jobs. Since they don’t get jobs, they don’t get experience,” said Marcelo Neri, an economist who directs the social policy department at the Getulio Vargas Foundation university. “Moreover, it’s the group of people who suffered most in the past five years.”
Brazil’s unemployment surged during the 2015-2016 recession and has been in the double digits since. Three years ago, Bolsonaro’s predecessor, Michel Temer, pitched a
Unemployment has come down since its 13.7% peak in 2017, but not fast enough to satisfy a beleaguered workforce. Joblessness was 11.8% in the third quarter, down from 11.9% in the same period a year earlier. Many of those who cast their vote for Bolsonaro last October hoped the shift in policy would reinvigorate the economy.
Brazilians in recent years have turned to self-employment, for example performing odd jobs, doing deliveries on bike or motorcycle and driving for ride-share apps like Uber. Postings for steady jobs, even those paying as little as $400 a month, draw long lines of applicants.
Official data from the third quarter show 4.7 million people are so disheartened that they have stopped looking for work.
Associated Press writer Mauricio Savarese contributed to this report.
David Biller, The Associated Press