After seven consecutive years of decline, the income of Brazilian workers remained stable in 2004. The halt in the drop, however, was not sufficient to recover the cumulative losses, which amount to 18.8% since 1996.
At that time the average monthly wage was US$ 403.67 (903 reais). It now stands at US$ 326.33 (730 reais). This information comes from the National Household Sample Survey – 2004 (PNAD), released recently by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
The study shows that, beginning in 1996, the country’s economic stability has enabled workers with smaller salaries to achieve greater gains in real purchasing power than workers with higher salaries.
From 2003 to 2004, the 50% of the employed population with wages below the median obtained real gains of 3.2%, while the 50% with wages above the median experienced real losses of 0.6%.
In 2004, 27.6% of workers earned the monthly equivalent of a minimum wage, while 0.9% received over 20 minimum wages. In regional terms, the lowest wages were most concentrated in the Northeast and least concentrated in the South.
Women continue to earn less than men. In 2004 they received 69.5% of what men were paid. The disparity is greatest among self-employed workers (65.1%) and least among employers (89.2%).
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