In the midst of the 2016 recession, when the Brazilian economy shrank 3.3%, Shayenne dos Santos Monteiro graduated the Faculty of Nursing. Even with the pandemic, at the age of 28, she was still unable to work in the profession. She was a nanny and hairdresser, work she has been doing, while she still tries to be a nurse, doing unpaid internship and training:
- I put a resume in a field hospital and nothing. For a while now, not even rejection has arrived. We register, nor do we refuse to send any more. They do not account for all the resumes that arrive. It only comes with an indication, there are a lot of unemployed people.
A year before Shayenne, Vinícius de Almeida, 31, graduated in International Relations. Another recessive year, when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 3.5%. He also never got a job in his field. He did a master's degree, but gave up. Today he is studying law and studying for public tenders:
- I have a sense of wasted time, investment and wasted potential. When I finished college it was tragic, the jobs disappeared. Right in the master's degree I saw that I had no future, I ended up with the sole purpose of using the title to count points for the contest - account.
- I wanted to give my parents relief with the bills, to be able to support a family without difficulties, to have a property or to be able to rent one. I had to postpone a lot of things, until I stopped dreaming.
There is a name for the prolonged effect of an economic recession in the job market, says Julia Braga, an economist and professor at UFF. It is hysteresis, a term stolen physics that, in the economy, indicates that, even if the country grows, unemployment will remain high for a long time.
- For the young person, there is a permanent effect in the literature called the scar of unemployment. This effect tends to impose on the young person's life other recurrences of episodes of unemployment and a salary penalty - says Julia.
In Brazil, it is now a rule to have a lot of unemployed people. Since February 2016, this contingent has never been less than ten million. Today, there are 14 million, double the 7 million registered in 2014, the best moment in the recent job market.
Braulio Borges, economist at LCA Consultores and Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), has been studying this phenomenon of high unemployment for a long time. At the end of 2019, 27.3% of the unemployed had been looking for work for two years or more.
In the aggregate of the last quarter of that year, the level reached 25%. Today, it fell slightly, to 22.9%. Since the first quarter of 2018, about 3 million people have been looking for vacancies for two years or more.
- We are losing capital. Many of the skills people acquire in the workplace and change all the time. Today programming is taught to children. 15 years ago, not everyone needed to know how to work with Excel. These minimum required skills are rising, generating a mass of people who later fail to reintegrate into the job market.
Electrical engineer Alex Pacheco, 33, finished college in 2016. Since then, he has been unemployed for four years, or with a temporary job as a realtor and some projects in his area. He was called for a contest in his specialty a week before the pandemic broke out a year ago:
- Even though I started working in the area I graduated, I'm sure I lost a decade. Because you are in the technology business, if you’re not updating all the time, you’re late.
These three young men entered the market in the middle of a recession, which reduces the chances of finding a job. Borges calculates that the equilibrium unemployment rate in Brazil is 9.5%. It has been above 10% since the beginning of 2016 and has now surpassed 14%.
Two crises in a row
In addition, Pacheco became disenchanted with the profession:
- Today I earn half what a private sector engineer would earn, it is not even the floor of the profession. And if you are going to compete for a place in a large multinational with a recent graduate, surely the preference will be for this. My intention is to migrate to law and try a career as a magistrate or prosecutor.
As Ricardo Henriques, executive superintendent of Instituto Unibanco explains, in the last 30, 40 years, we have never lived a crisis without the economy recovering the previous one:
- Entering a crisis without leaving another one increases the hysteresis effect, this structural unemployment, when there is a reconfiguration of work, with the fourth industrial revolution.
Julia draws attention to the aging of the employed population, which has been occurring since 2015, with a drop in the number of people under 40 years of age.
- The time that young people remain unemployed rose in the pandemic, and had already increased in the crisis of 2015. Now we are going through a double-effect recession, because in addition to the impact on GDP, there are changes such as remote work and automation.