PME, the Brazilian Monthly Employment Survey, is a sample survey conducted monthly by IBGE since 1980 in six metropolitan areas: Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. The survey collects labor and income information from the population. PME is mainly used to compute the main unemployment index in the country (until 2014). It is the only IBGE survey in longitudinal format. Households are visited for two periods of four consecutive months, eight months apart from each other. In March 2014, PME's sample consisted of 33,809 households with 95,122 individuals.
There are two versions of PME, traditionally called by PME-Antiga (old PME) and PME-Nova (new PME). The PME-Antiga is the original survey. In 2002, this survey underwent a major change in design, giving rise to the PME-Nova, with a significantly larger questionnaire and differences in the definition of labor market participation, as well as in the rotation scheme of the samples. Until the end of 2002, the two methodologies were taken to the field. In December 2002, PME-Antiga was closed down and replaced by PME-Nova.
PME is a panel survey, in which each household is interviewed 8 times over a 16-months period (the household is surveyed for 4 consecutive months, out for 8, and then returns for another 4 months of interviews). Households are correctly identified throughout all eight interviews. However, PME does not assign the same identification number to each individual in the household across interviews. To reduce attrition related to this problem, each Data Zoom package offers two identification algorithms based on Ribas e Soares (2008). The algorithms differ essentially according to the number of characteristics checked in order to identify the same individual across interviews.
PME-Nova was discontinued in February 2016 and replaced by PNAD Continuous, a quarterly survey started in the first quarter of 2012. The two surveys coexisted between 2012 and 2016. For more information on methodological differences between surveys, see Published by IBGE.