Residents carry food donated by a non-governmental agency amid the new coronavirus pandemic, in the Mandela slum, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on  April 21
Sao Paulo CNN  — 

Nearly eight million people in Brazil have lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures released by the country’s statistics agency Tuesday.

The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, IGBE, released its report for the trimester showing that a record 7.8 million people lost work in country. Of them, 5.8 million were workers in the informal sector.

The institute put the figure of people who are still working in Brazil at the end of May at just 49.5%.”For the first time in the historical survey series, the level of occupation was below 50%,” IBGE said in a statement.

Since data collection started in 2012, “this had never happened,” IGBE analyst Adriana Beringuy said in a statement.

“This means that less than half of the working age population is working,” Beringuy added. Brazil’s minimum legal working age is 14.

The total number of Brazilians in the work force stands at 85.9 million, an 8.3% contraction from the same period past year.

And the unemployment rate in Latin America’s largest economy rose to 12.3% at the end of May, affecting 12.7 million people, the highest level since the same three-month period in 2018.

Economists are pointing to a historic economic recession in Brazil due to coronavirus, which has decimated an already struggling economy.

The Brazilian Central Bank estimates a 6.4% drop in GDP for this year, while The Monetary International Fund is more pessimistic and predicts a 9.1% fall for 2020.

Coronavirus cases in Brazil continue to skyrocket daily. The country has recorded more than 1.3 million cases of the disease according to Johns Hopkins University, the second highest count in the world behind the US.