The second wave of the covid-19 pandemic interrupted a sequence of nine increases in the industrial activity. According to the Industrial Indicators survey, released today (8) by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), the number of hours worked in the sector fell 0.5% in February compared to January.
Despite the decline, the number of hours worked in the industry accumulated an increase of 3.5% in February compared to February of last year, before the start of the pandemic of the new coronavirus. In the first two months of 2021, the indicator accumulates an increase of 4% in relation to the same period of 2020.
The worsening of the pandemic, however, is beginning to be felt in other indicators, which fell more than the total hours worked. The industry’s revenue fell 3.3% in February, undoing the gains of December and January and returning to the levels of November of last year.
The real wage bill (sum of wages paid adjusted for inflation) shrank 1.1% in February. The indicator remains below the pre-crisis level, accumulating a drop of 1.3% in relation to March 2020. The real average income of industry workers fell 1.8% in relation to January and is at the lowest level since July of the year past.
Installed capacity utilization reached 80.2% in February, down 0.4 percentage points compared to January. Despite the downturn, the indicator remains above the 78.8% recorded in February 2020. All indicators are seasonally adjusted, disregarding fluctuations typical of certain times of the year, such as the number of holidays and anniversaries.
The only indicator that maintained the sequence of increases was employment, which rose 0.4% in February. On the rise for the seventh consecutive month, the indicator surpassed the pre-pandemic level and is 1.1% above that recorded in February 2020. According to the CNI, employment continues to be influenced by the strong recovery of industrial activity in previous months, but the numbers suggest that this trend may be stopped later if industrial activity continues to decline.