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Construction industry in Brazil - Statistics & Facts

Following years of political and economic crisis in the country, along with a corruption scandal involving some of the highest echelons in the sector, the construction industry in Brazil has been struggling since 2014. The first signs of recovery began to appear in 2019, ensuing an overall optimism for the upcoming years. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the industry’s revival suffered a major setback, with the contraction in activity expected to endure through 2021.

The rise and fall of the construction sector

During 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.

Corruption amongst the leading players

The crisis faced in the past decade by the Brazilian construction industry was a consequence of more than just the country’s economic and political crisis. In 2014, an investigation known as “Operation Car Wash” uncovered a major corruption scandal in Brazil, revealing a network of briberies between construction companies and politicians. A series of executives were indicted in the process, including the presidents of the two largest companies in the sector – Odebrecht Engenharia e Construção (OEC) and Construtora Queiroz Galvão. Despite still holding the leading positions in the construction segment, the revenue of OEC decreased by more than 80 percent between 2016 and 2020, while Queiroz Galvão’s revenue dropped by some 70 percent in five years.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 28 most important statistics relating to "Construction industry in Brazil".


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