The Observatory’s Barometer on Crisis and Alternatives analysed the effects of the crisis caused by Covid-19 and released its conclusions in an electronic publication entitled “New Unemployment: the weaknesses of a productive option”.
The study points out that in March, the first month of social confinement, there was a 34 percent increase in the number of new unemployed enrolled, compared to the same month of 2019. This evolution was reflected in the level of unemployment registered at the end of March that rose 3 percent compared to March 2019 and 8.9 percent compared to the previous month.
According to the author of the analysis, João Ramos de Almeida, the percentage values are different because they are two different concepts.
The concept of unemployment throughout the month shows how many unemployed sign up for that month, while registered unemployment measures the level of unemployment, the number of people who are available to work in a given month (at the end of that month) and that were not occupied by the Employment Institute.
The author of the study considered that “social confinement was a hard test for the Portuguese” and revealed “signs of fragility of what appears to be the national productive strategy - services and tourism”. This is because it was in this sector that unemployment grew most.
According to the barometer, which was based on data from the Employment Institute and the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security (MTSSS), almost three quarters of the increase (73 percent) was explained by unemployment in services and, among these, especially in activities related to tourism.
It was the areas of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley and the south of that territory that suffered the most, coinciding with the concentration of tourist activities.
The Algarve alone accounted for 20 percent of the rise in unemployment in March.
At the same time, job offers, which usually rise in March, also fell 23 percent year-on-year, of which three quarters are explained by the services sector.
Citing data released by the MTSSS, the barometer points out that the trend of worsening unemployment continued in April, with a daily average of more than 3,000 new unemployed enrolments on the continent, 31 percent more than last March.
This was reflected in an increase in unemployment recorded in the continent of approximately 15 percent in April compared to last March and of 24 percent compared to April 2019.
The author of the analysis predicts that unemployment figures may still worsen if the lack of continuity is not reflected in an immediate resumption of economic activities, particularly in services.
“This concentration of unemployment in services reflects the measures taken to control the pandemic, but also the fragility of a productive strategy based on these activities”, says the author.
According to the analysis, when looking at the unemployment data recorded in the last four decades, it appears that the services sector, unlike the manufacturing industries, is one that expands in a recovery phase, but that shrinks disproportionately in recessive phase, showing enormous volatility.