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são paulo - a tale of two cities

erty surrounding a few islands of conspicuous wealth and prosperity as its key failings. Previous chapters of this book have detailed the dramatic growth of São Paulo’s population and industries and the story of seemingly endless demands for labour being met by a seemingly endless influx of willing workers. Looking closer, the reality in the MSP reveals a complex movement of rising and falling sectors and industries, with industrial centres adapting their geographical locations in response to costs and labour availability. In addition, the MSP has witnessed the growth of a massive informal sector that has developed in reaction to opportunity, the necessity of survival and changes in the formal labour market. With such a concentration of economic activity, the MSP’s vulnerability to recessions and reduced demand has the potential to affect a large number of people. Economic growth in the city, though positive and strong over the last two decades, has historically been volatile. Employment patterns, too, have undergone dramatic changes throughout Brazil. Recent unemployment levels peaked at 13 per cent in 2004, having risen from the low of around 3 per cent in 1986. Significant growth has recently been seen in the formal market in Brazil. In 2007, the number of active companies and organizations increased by 2.7 per cent, according to the Central Register of Enterprises (CEMPRE).111 Nationally, there are four million enterprises and organizations that employ a total of 42.6 million people, and 36.7 million people are salaried. This figure increased by 7.5 per cent between 2006 and 2007, representing an increase of 2.6 million salaried persons nationally, due to the establishment of new companies and increased hiring of existing companies. President Lula da Silva, who promised during his campaign to create 10 million new jobs in the country, has been under intense pressure to reduce the jobless rate since 2002, when he became the country’s leader.112 Comparing São Paulo to other regions, the southeast concentrated more than half (51.2 per cent) of the salaried persons in Brazil. The south region employed 18.9 per cent of the national workforce, while the northeast claimed 17.2 per cent, the central west 7.7 per cent, and the north just 4.9 per cent.

Educational attainment and gender parity have influenced significant changes in Brazil’s workforce in recent years. The proportion of employees with eight to 11 years of education and those with 12 or more years of education is increasing. The cohort with eight to 11 years of education has increased the most, growing 23 per cent over 22 years. Those with 12 or more years of education grew by 10 per cent, while the cohort with only up to three years of education declined by 22 per cent and those with four to seven years of education declined by approximately 10 per

Economic growth in the city, though positive and strong over the last two decades, has historically been volatile. cent in the same period. All education groups have been more or less equally affected by unemployment trends. At the same time, women have gained the majority in Brazil’s workforce: women’s employment increased by almost 20 per cent from 1985 to 2007, shifting from 43 per cent to 60 per cent of the total workforce.113

Employment profile in greater São Paulo São Paulo’s economy has been in a state of ‘transition’ for many years, shifting from a primarily manufacturing base to a more balanced blend of industries while maintaining a strong, but much-reduced, heavy-industry sector. São Paulo’s ability to absorb millions of industrial workers at various skill levels has now long passed. This transition, combined with the turbulent years of recession in the 1980s and part of the 1990s, led to high rates of unemployment in the city, the state and the nation as a whole. Since 2004, unemployment levels throughout Brazil and in São Paulo have fallen successively. After the implementation of the Economic Plan of 1994 and up to 1999, the unemployment rate in the metropolitan regions of Brazil experienced a significant increase, pushing up over 20 per cent briefly, with a total of 1.8 million workers unemployed.114 An ‘explosive increase’ of un-

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Profile for UN-Habitat

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Profile for unhabitat
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