Latin America: These are the unemployment figures so far

The latest report from the International Labor Organization predicted a reduction in the unemployment rate in the region for 2018. But has that really been reflected?

Latin America: These are the unemployment figures so far

The last annual report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) suggested that in this year there would be a reduction in the unemployment rate in Latin America, accompanied by a moderate economic recovery. Between 2016 and 2017, the average unemployment rate in the region increased from 7.9% to 8.4%, which is equivalent to a total of 26.4 million people without work.

Leer en español: Latinoamérica: Así van las cifras de desempleo este año

According to the report, in part this was due to the situation in Brazil, which has 40% of the labor force in Latin America and the Caribbean, but whose unemployment rate was the highest in South America with 13.1% . By 2018, the outlook for the report was good, since there has been a slight improvement.

On the one hand, unemployment in the region only increased in 9 countries during 2017, when in 2016 it increased in 13 countries. If these figures are compared, a positive trend could be analyzed. On the other hand, according to the ILO, the unemployment rate would fall for the first time in three years due to the economic recovery that was projected for this year.

International organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated a regional growth of 2%. However, in the middle of this year, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reduced this forecast to 1.5% due to the complex scenario that the international market is going through.

Countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela have experienced a great deterioration in recent months, thus lowering the average GDP of the region. Then, taking into account the current Latin American economic context, certain trends in the labor panorama of the countries in the region can be deduced.

Brazil, Colombia and Argentina continue to worry

During 2017, the Southern Cone was the most affected in terms of unemployment. According to the ILO report, the unemployment rate in Brazil at the end of the year was 11.9%. According to a report by La República, the unemployment rate increased during this first quarter in which it was marked at 12.2%, while the latest data indicate 12.7%. That is, there are currently 13.2 million people unemployed in Brazil.

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Colombia also has high rates of unemployment in the region, with the second worst with the worst figures. According to the magazine Dinero, the unemployment rate in April this year was 9.5%, while in this same period during 2017 the rate was 8.9%. In addition, the DANE indicated that during July the unemployment rate was 9.7%, while last month it had been 9.1%.

For its part, Argentina has suffered greatly with its economic crisis. In the first quarter of this year, the unemployment rate reached 9.1%. However, as reported by Reuters, the same rate had been 8.3% in the third semester of last year. It is difficult for employment to grow when GDP does not.

Mexico, Ecuador and Chile present good indicators

According to the Republic, the countries that showed the lowest unemployment rates in February of this year were: Mexico with 3.1%, Ecuador with 4.4% and Chile with 6.7%. According to the National Institute of Statistics of Mexico, in the months of January-March of this year, 107,968 people left the unemployment, in comparison with the same period of 2017.

The unoccupied population during this first quarter was 1.7 million people. However, this low rate of unemployment is not necessarily good, because Mexico suffers from a large problem of informality, which adds 30 million people. In addition, as Excelsior reports, Mexico had the lowest rate for a month of May in the last 11 years, with a difference of 0.3 percentage points with respect to this month of the previous year.

According to the INEC, in Ecuador the unemployment rate for June of this year was 4.1% of the economically active population, of which the differences with the same period last year were not statistically significant. According to the survey conducted by the Institute, between December 2017 and June 2018, unemployment fell from 4.1%, and underemployment from 19.8% to 19.4%.

LatinAmerican Post | Valentina Moya

Translated from "Latinoamérica: Estas son las cifras de desempleo para 2018"