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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Employment quality does not improve
Latinamerica Press
1/23/2014
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Urban unemployment levels reach historic lows, but most jobs are informal and lack benefits.

The urban unemployment rate for 2013 reached an all-time low rate of 6.3 percent in the region, informed the International Labour Organization (ILO) in its presentation of the 2013 Labour Overview on Dec. 17.

However, the organization pointed out that the employment situation is “worrisome” due to the sluggish economic growth affecting the job market. In 2013, the economic growth was 2.7 percent — 0.3 percent less than in 2012 — and the forecast for 2014 growth is 3.1 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund statistics cited by the ILO.

Elizabeth Tinoco, regional director of the ILO for Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasized that even though “low unemployment rates are always good news,” out of 291 million people that make up the region’s workforce, 15 million jobseekers cannot find employment, and another 130 million work in informal conditions and without benefits.

According to the ILO, 47.7 percent of all jobs are informal and without social benefits. In addition, minimum wage increases have either stopped or its purchasing power has reduced.

Tinoco stated that last year “no new jobs were generated. Instead, people who left their jobs for different reasons rejoined the workforce.”

“The job market situation is not negative, but it is troubling,” she remarked. “Salaries are growing less than in previous years, informal jobs are not decreasing, and joblessness amongst young people in urban areas is increasing.”

“Transforming informal jobs into formal ones is a complex and challenging process that requires specific measures in order to succeed. In some countries, the initial reductions in informal jobs recorded in the last years, driven by better information, inspections or incentives, must be complemented in the medium term with policies that bolster the productivity and the economic capability of the economic units and workers of the informal economy,” the ILO recommended.
—Latinamerica Press.


LATIN AMERICA/THE CARBBEAN
Urban unemployment rate 2013*


 
Country
Percent
Jamaica
15.4
Colombia
11.1
Costa Rica
8.2
Paraguay
8.0
Venezuela
8.0
Argentina
7.3
Dominican Republic
7.0
Uruguay
6.9
Chile
6.0
Honduras
6.0
Peru
6.0
Mexico
5.9
Brazil
5.6
Ecuador
4.7
Panama
4.7
*Third trimester

Source: ILO

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