Christmas shopping season is an early gift for Brazil job hunters

World Today

Christmas shopping season is an early gift for Brazil job hunters

The holiday season is one of the busiest periods of the year for retailers, and often extra help is needed. That’s great news for Brazil’s unemployed.

CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.

Luana Dias says she needs to work – to help pay for her university studies. She’s pursuing a degree in marketing – and tuition is expensive. So when she was recently unemployed for four month, life was hard. But now, Luana’s found a temporary job in sales, here in this shop.

“I like to work in sales because I like to communicate and talk to people,” said Salesperson Luana Dias. “So, I hope I will be able stay here after Christmas, at least while I finish university and find something in my area.”

After a steep drop in retail sales in 2016 – more than six percent – and a tough first half of this year, the retail industry seems to be making a slow comeback.

The country’s National Trade Confederation projects growth in sales for this Christmas season of almost 5 percent over 2016 figures. If that proves correct, it would be the first rise in sales after two consecutive years of decline 4.9 percent in 2016 and 5 percent in 2015. Shops are expected to hire almost 74,000 temporary employees for the extra work.

Every day dozens of people come to the reception of the shopping mall in SAO Paulo to hand their resumes, hoping to find a job for the Christmas Period. This is just today’s bulk.

The holiday season jobs are a welcome relief for thousands of Brazilians struggling against high levels of unemployment brought on by recession. The question now is whether the economy will pick up enough to help these workers turn their temporary work into permanent positions.

This mall estimates about 2,500 jobs will be filled for the holiday season. Some are likely to remain as the mall is opening a new wing.

“We get daily about 100 to 120 resumes of people looking for jobs here,” said Shopping Metro Itaquera Marketing Manager Fabio Quintana. “And the closer it gets to Christmas, the higher this number is. Usually about 10 to 20 percent of the temporary jobs became permanent positions, and that’s what we expect to happen here if the economic recovery continues.”

“What we see now is that most companies are working with the minimum number of workers, just skin and bones really, because demand is low,” said Brazilian Association of Temporary Work Commercial Director Michelle Karine. So, if there is any reaction they will need people to cover the increased demand. So, the prospect of people retaining their work is even better now that it was in previous years.”

Unemployment in Brazil has been slowly improving but the official figure still tops 12 percent that’s nearly 13 million people out of work. For many of them, a job is the best gift they could get for Christmas.