Trade Union Forum


General information

Brazil is an industrial and agricultural state with great economic potential and the largest economy in Latin America. At the same time, the difference in incomes of different segments of the population is very large, as is the difference in the development of the eastern and western regions. The Brazilian real (BRL, R$) is the official currency of Brazil. In 2020, Brazil had the 9th highest GDP in the world. The GDP per capita was US$ 6,450 (per inhabitant). The inflation rate in Brazil was 4.5%.

The Brazilian economy is quite closed, which causes many serious problems, one of them being the so-called "Brazil cost". That means that the quality of life is rather low, whereas the consumer goods are quite expensive.

Brazil is divided into five main economic regions: Northern, North-Eastern, Southern, South-Eastern, and Central-Western.

The most comfortable economic environment has developed in the South-Eastern region, where the main economic centers of the country, namely Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte are located. São Paulo is often called the center of Brazil's economic development. Agriculture develops in the South, where rice, wheat, and soy grow. Animal husbandry prevails in the Central-Western region.

Economic branches

The main branches now are industry (more than 25% of GDP) and services (more than 70% of GDP). Agriculture, forestry, and also fishing occupy now third place (about 5% of GDP).

Brazil's light and heavy industries are developing rapidly. The main sectors are mining, oil refining, textile and chemical production. Automotive and aircraft productions in FRB are at a high level of development.

Tourism plays a special role in the economic development of the country. Examples of services offered to tourists include diving, surfing, yachting, water skiing, as well as tourism for relaxation, entertainment and education.

About 20% of the Brazilian population work in agriculture. In terms of world agricultural export, Brazil has the 3d place (about 6% of global export). The main products are meat and meat products, vegetables, sugar cane, and coffee.

Export and import

Total country's export in 2019 amounted to US$ 225,000,000,000. The main exported goods are transport equipment, iron ore, coffee, oilseeds and fruits, meat and offal, nuclear equipment components, mineral fuels, and petroleum products.

Major export partners are China with 28% of the export volume (US$ 63,000,000,000), USA with 13.2% (US$ 29,000,000,000), the Netherlands with 4.49% (US$ 10,100,000,000), Argentina with 4.43% (US$ 9,790,000,000), and Japan with 2.41% (US$ 5,430,000,000).

Total import in 2019 amounted to US$ 177,000,000,000. The main imported goods are oil and various bituminous petroleum products, motor vehicle components and parts, floating lighthouses, fireboats, medicines, insecticides, electronic and integrated circuits, etc. Major import partners are China with 19.8% of the export volume (US$ 35,000,000,000), USA with 17.1% (US$ 30,000,000,000), Argentina with 5.95% (US$ 10,500,000,000), Germany with 5.79% (US$ 10,200,000,000) and South Korea with 2.65% (US$ 4,700,000,000).

Volumes of imported and exported goods and services declined between 2018 and 2020, and the declines are expected to intensify in 2021.

Labor force

Brazil has a population of more than 213 million people, and about 56% of the Brazilian active population (between 15 and 64 years) have a paid job. In comparison with South Africa and India, that's a pretty high result. In the Republic of South Africa, the percentage of the economically active population reaches 40%, and in India - 46.5%. China (64.5%) and Russia (58.6%) show higher results.

In 2020, the average salary in Brazil was about 2,360 reais per month (US$ 505). In São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the average salary is higher – from 2,500 to 3,000 reais per month (US$ 530-640). The minimum wage in Brazil is 1039 reais (US$ 256).

The unemployment rate in 2020 rose to a record high 14.2% of the total working-age population (the number is higher only in South Africa, where it almost hits 31%). The most vulnerable groups are those who work in the informal economy sector, self-employed citizens, members of indigenous and traditional peoples and communities, and also unemployed citizens.