The rise and fall of the construction sectorDuring the first half of the 2010s, the construction industry in Brazil was soaring – the number of employees in the sector increased by approximately 21 percent between 2010 and 2013, while investments in infrastructure reported a similar 22.6 percent nominal increase in the same period. The sector’s steady growth was then put to a halt in 2014, when a generalized economic and political crisis hit and lingered in the country. By 2018, the number of people employed in construction reached the lowest figure of the decade. Similarly, during this period, retail sales of construction materials steadily decreased over three consecutive years.
As investor confidence started to build up again, and with over 60 thousand new construction jobs created in Brazil in the first two months of 2020, the sector enjoyed a very positive outlook in the beginning of the year. But with the first COVID-19 case reported in the end of February, and the number of deaths soon reaching the second highest in the world, the scenario changed. By June, the construction industry in the country was estimated to contract by almost two percent in 2020, down from a previously anticipated growth of 1.7 percent. Nevertheless, with the year finishing at a positive balance of over 105 thousand jobs created in the sector and a forecast average growth of 1.8 percent between 2021 and 2024, there is still room for optimism.