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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Youth struggle between unemployment and informal jobs
Latinamerica Press
2/21/2014
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Economic growth has not improved labor prospects for youth in the region.

Of the 108 million young people in the region between the ages of 15 and 24, more than half (56.1 percent) are part of the labor force. However, 13.9 percent are unemployed, which means that 7.8 million young people cannot find work despite looking, ensures the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The report titled Trabajo decente y juventud: políticas para la acción (Decent work and youth: policies for action), presented on Feb. 13, maintains that “the youth unemployment rate remains twice as high as the overall rate and three times that of adults. In addition, young people represent 43 percent of all the unemployed in the region.” The total regional unemployment rate is 6.3 percent.

For Elizabeth Tinoco, Regional Director of the ILO for Latin America and the Caribbean, “it is not surprising that young people take to the streets, as their lives are marked by discouragement and frustration because of lack of opportunities. This has consequences on social stability and even on democratic governance.”

The report also highlights that 55.6 percent of employed young people only find informal jobs, “which generally involves low wages, job insecurity and lack of protection and rights.” According to the ILO, almost six in 10 young people who work are in informal employment.

Of particular concern is the about 21 million young people who do not study or work, do not search for work or do housework. This group represents the biggest challenge because of it’s at risk of social exclusion.

The ILO recommended to implement the innovative ideas of countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru, and Uruguay which include the improvement and extension of training programs to make the school-to-job transition easier, promoting employment programs aimed at helping young people through hiring incentives or simplification of employment paperwork, implementing strategies to formalize workers and sources of employment, and promoting and facilitating entrepreneurship among the youth.

“We are faced with a political challenge that calls for a determination to apply innovative and effective policies to confront labor market precariousness,” said Tinoco during the presentation of the report. “It is urgent to transition from concern to action.” —Latinamerica Press.

LATIN AMERICA/ THE CARIBBEAN
Unemployment rate by age and gender 2011 (percent)*

Country
Men
Women
Colombia
17.0
28.9
Argentina
16.5
22.2
Chile
15.2
21.1
Venezuela
15.1
22.0
Uruguay
14.5
21.7
Costa Rica
13.5
21.6
El Salvador
12.5
11.7
Brazil
12.0
19.8
Panama
11.3
14.7
Dominican Rep.
10.2
19.5
Nicaragua
9.8
15.6
Paraguay
9.7
17.8
Peru
9.4
9.7
Mexico
9.3
10.9
Ecuador
9.0
15.0
Honduras
5.5
13.8
Bolivia
5.1
7.8
Guatemala
4.5
13.6

*Young people between 15 and 24 years of age

Source: ILO


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