The percentage of unemployed in Latin America stood at 8% in 2018, one tenth less than in 2017, and will continue to fall to 7.8% in 2020, according to the report “Social Perspectives and Employment in the World” published today the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In Brazil, the main economy of the region, the unemployment level is expected to fall from 12.5% in 2018 (three tenths less than in 2017) to 12.2% in 2019 and 11.7% in 2020.
In contrast, in the second regional engine, Mexico, the level of unemployment (3.3% in 2018) could rise to 3.4% in 2019 and return to 3.3% the following year.
The ILO prepares these forecasts taking into account that a moderate acceleration of the growth of the regional economy is expected, from 2% in 2019 to 2.6% in 2020.
This will be driven especially by countries such as Brazil (where it is expected a rise in gross domestic product of 2.4% this year after a 0.7% in 2018), Colombia, Peru or Chile (all of them with expected growth between 3.4 and 4.3%).
This would compensate in the regional average the recessions that in 2019 are expected to continue in countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua or Argentina (in the latter it is projected that unemployment will go from 7.3% in 2017 to 10% in 2019), according to the report.
The “strong rebound of economic growth” will have some impact on job creation, “although not on a massive scale,” predicts the ILO report, which expects a rise in the population with employment of 1.4% this year and the same the next.
The study highlights that the number of salaried workers in Latin America (as opposed to those who do it on their own or in family businesses) is high, 63% in 2018, but that this is not synonymous with quality in employment, since almost half of them (45%) work in informal jobs.
In this regard, the ILO emphasizes that 53% of Latin American workers are engaged in the informal economy (outside of state control and not controlled), one of the highest percentages in the world and rising to about 80% in countries like Bolivia , Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Even in the largest and most developed economies in the region, high levels of informality are reached, which are 47.2% in Argentina, 46% in Brazil, 40.5% in Chile and 53.4% in Mexico, according to the report.
“The report shows that there is a relationship between informal employment and levels of poverty,” ILO research director Damian Grimshaw said in the presentation of the report.
The expert showed that countries in the region with high levels of labor informality also top poverty statistics, such as Honduras, Guatemala or Nicaragua, while those with more formal jobs, such as Uruguay, Chile or Costa Rica, also present better figures of social welfare.
The ILO maintains that there are legal and fiscal efforts in countries such as Peru, Uruguay, Brazil or Paraguay to reduce this informality.
It also indicates as positive progress the development in countries of the region of non-contributory social protection programs to reduce poverty and informality of workers.
As an example, he mentioned the extension of social security to relatives of employees in Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
Another mechanism to reduce the poverty of informal workers has been conditional cash transfers (state subsidies dependent on the beneficiaries’ shares), which have covered 45% of the Ecuadorian population and around 25% of those of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. (EFE) .-