In Brazil Now Earning US$ 145 a Month Makes You Middle Class. More than US$ 545 and You’re Rich

Lojas Americanas The Brazilian government has a new definition for the Brazilian middle class. A commission of specialists at the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs (SAE), housed in the presidency, using family income as the basic metric, defines the new middle class as individuals living in a family unit with per capita monthly income between R$ 291 (US$ 145) and R$ 1,091 (US$ 545).

According to Ricardo Paes de Barros, the secretary of Strategic Action at SAE, “Anyone with per capita income in this bracket will be considered middle class.”

The commission divided the new middle class into three groups: the lower middle class, with incomes between R$291 and R$441; the middle middle class with incomes between R$441 and R$641; and, the upper middle class with incomes above R$641, but less than R$1,019.

“This is an asset for Brazilian society. The country’s middle class represents more than half the population. Now that it has a standardized definition, it will be accepted by all and that will make the discussion easier about its thoughts, desires and hopes, what it does and its consumption patterns,” declared Barros.

The commission arrived at its definition by taking into consideration living expenses and spending patterns (both necessary and superfluous items). They also factored in vulnerability, that is, the chances of falling back into poverty.

Definition in hand, the commission is now studying public policy alternatives for this middle class. One objective is to reduce job turnover and increase the level of skills among middle class workers.

“We want to build longer lasting labor relations,” explained the secretary. “We will implement continuing educational policies for workers with jobs, giving them access to insurance, financial education and other policies specifically aimed at different segments of the middle class.”

According to the head of the SAE, minister Moreira Franco, the next step in the commission’s work is to create instruments for a debate and reflection on the definition. A survey, Voices of the Middle Class  will seek to record aspirations and the behavior of the people in this social class.

Industry Output

Industrial activity in the state of São Paulo, with seasonal adjustments, was down 0.3% in April, compared to March. Without seasonal adjustments, the decrease was 5.2%.

In a year-to-year comparison of April 2011 and April 2012, there was a drop of 5.1%.

For the year, January to April, compared to the same period in 2011, industrial activity is down 5.9%.

And, finally, for the twelve-month period ending this April, compared to the same period ending in April 2011, there was a fall of 2.2%.

All the numbers are from the regular monthly survey by the São Paulo Manufacturing Federation (“Fiesp”), known as the (industrial) Level of Activity Index (“INA”).

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