Over the past 27 years, productivity in the Brazilian manufacturing industry has declined by an average of about 1% per year. This means that, if in 1995 each hour worked in Brazil generated R$45.50 of products, at the end of last year it was only R$36.50 per hour worked. And, according to experts, there is no clear solution under discussion to change this situation. Over this period, there were improvements in 11 years compared to the previous year, but the average over these nearly three decades is negative at 0.9%. “For a country to be competitive, to gain domestic markets and exports, it must improve its productivity,” says economist Fernando Veloso, coordinator of the Regis Bonelli Productivity Observatory at FGV Ibre.
Responsible for the study, which shows productivity per hour worked in the manufacturing industry, Veloso highlights that greater productivity increases the competitiveness of a company, workers produce more, product prices fall after cost reduction. and sales and exports increase. Analysts and businessmen regret that this important thermometer of the country’s economic development practically does not appear in the recent article by President Lula and Vice President Geraldo Alcmin published in “Estado”.
In the text, they introduce the government’s vision for neo-industrialization and say that “Industry will be the guiding thread of an economic policy aimed at generating income and more knowledge-intensive jobs and a social policy that invests in families. Is”. The manufacturing industry is responsible for the production of clothing, food, electronics, metals, aircraft, vehicles, and industrial machinery in addition to many other consumer goods.
Despite this, it is encouraging to see that the new government shows concern for the sector, with the aim of increasing industrial productivity to prevent “dehydration of the sector”, as the executive president of the Brazilian Industry Federation says, businessmen and analysts say. It is necessary to make a policy. They say. Chemistry (Abikim), André Passos Cordeiro.
“We have already lost many important sectors because of the lack of attention to the industry as a block, and the new government signals that it cares about that, but we need to go further,” says Cordeiro. For him, Brazil was concerned with making agribusiness competitive, but it has not done the same with industry in recent years.
Compare with agribusiness
The Productivity Observatory reflects on this paradox in its study. In 1995, productivity per hour worked in agriculture was R$5.90, up from R$25.50 at the end of the previous year (see graph above). Over the years, only three of them recorded a decline in variation, always improving in the next period. On average, the agricultural sector grew by 5.5% annually.
“Agriculture continues to grow a lot, and industry is declining,” Veloso says. According to him, Brazilian agriculture is competitive, there is a lot of innovation in it, there is a lot of export and import, in other words it is a sector linked to the global economy. “It will be very important for industry to follow the paths that agriculture has been following for some decades; this is what the countries called Asian tigers do.”
Veloso highlights that tax reform should contribute to improving the competitiveness of local industry, but other specific policies are necessary. Investing in human capital is also necessary. “Especially with the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the more intensive use of robots in industry, workers need more education, more training than ever before, because the industry is using these technological tools so intensively , and the need for qualifications is increasing”, says Veloso. (state institution)