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COVID-19: 40% of Brazilians faced total or partial income loss

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A survey conducted by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) shows that the loss of purchasing power has affected four of every ten Brazilians since the beginning of the pandemic. Of the total number of respondents, 23 percent completely lost their income and 17 percent faced a reduction in their monthly revenues. Combined, the two groups add up to 40 percent.

Nearly half of workers (48%) are very scared to lose their jobs. Coupled with those who declared they are moderately (19%) or a little (10%) scared, the proportion of people in the labor market afraid to lose their jobs reaches 77 percent. Overall, nine of every ten respondents describe the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic on the Brazilian economy as significant.

The study also shows that the impact on income and the fear of unemployment led 77 percent of consumers to reduce the consumption of at least one of 15 products mentioned by the questionnaire during the pandemic. In other words, of every four Brazilians, three slashed their spending. Only 23 percent of those heard said they did not reduce their shopping at all, compared to habits before the pandemic started.

When asked how they plan to behave in the future, most Brazilians said they intend to retain the level of consumption adopted during lockdown in the aftermath of the pandemic, with percentages going from 50 to 72 percent of respondents, depending on the product in question. This trend, CNI said, may indicate that people are not willing to resume previous levels.

Social distancing

The figures reveal that the Brazilian population continues to favor social distancing (86%), despite the possible economic losses, and nearly everyone (93%) changed their routine during the isolation period to some degree.

Three of four Brazilians consider shifting back to the everyday lives they led before after the pandemic is over. Regarding their return to work after the end of social distancing, 43 percent of formal and informal workers said they feel safe, whereas 39 percent said relatively safe, and 18 percent not safe.

“The attention of governments, businesses, and society must be mainly directed at preserving lives. However, we must also be concerned about the survival of companies and the preservation of jobs. A consistent strategy must be devised so that business activities can be resumed safely and gradually,” CNI President Robson Braga Andrade argued.

Most inverviewees (96%) believe it is important for companies to adopt safety measures, including mask distribution and the enforcement of minimum distance between employees. For 82 percent of worker, these measures are efficient protective efforts.

Debts

A figure mentioned in the survey and regarded as alarming by the CNI is indebtedness, which assails over half of the population (53%). The percentage is the sum of the 38 percent already indebted before the pandemic and the 15 percent had incurred debts in the last 40 days, when social isolation measures were first implemented.

Of those in debt, 40 percent stated they have at least one payment of such debts overdue. Most of the these started delaying payments in the last 40 days.

The survey, carried out at the request of the CNI by FSB Pesquisa, heard 2,005 respondents, aged 16 and above, throughout the 27 Brazilian states between May 2 and 4, and has a margin of error of two percentage points.