The study discusses, in a critical perspective, the cumulative and impactful effects that may result from the current pandemic. It tries to go beyond the numbers, using mainly qualitative data obtained through interviews, as well as information gathered from the constitution of a panel of cases in follow-up. The results, still provisional, point in a double direction. On the one hand, the measures implemented are not sufficient to avoid the increase of unemployment. On the other hand, the first victims are starting to appear: the immediate unemployed, a group composed of informal and precarious workers and, in general, those with more fragile labour relations. Two other groups may be added to this one: the anticipated unemployed and the procrastinated unemployed. If nothing is done, unemployment, after having been a “non-issue” in recent years, runs the risk of becoming once again the problem that the country will have to face. It concludes with the need to act quickly on policies to make them more effective and for all, mobilising the necessary resources to prevent the usual inevitabilities – inequality, poverty and social exclusion – from taking over our collective future.

Keywords: pandemic crisis; unemployment; precariousness; public policies

Authors: Jorge Caleiras, Renato Miguel do Carmo