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Youth unemployment in Latin America is close to 20%, the highest level in the last decade

Unemployment among young Latin Americans reached almost 20 percent in the third quarter of 2019, the highest figure in the last decade, according to a report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), which points to the “frustration” of young people as one of the causes of the wave of protests that has traveled the region.

According to the ILO, the region’s markets are going through “a moment of uncertainty” that has resulted in a slight rebound in unemployment levels in the region which, according to their estimates, will be 8.1 in 2019, a tenth more than in 2018, and could close 2020 by 8.4 percent.

“It is a slight increase, but it still means that more than 25 million people are actively seeking employment and are not getting it,” the UN agency said in its report.

The ILO has drawn attention to the level of unemployment among young Latin Americans, of 19.8 percent. “The lack of decent work opportunities for young people causes great concern, as it is a source of discouragement and frustration,” said ILO Regional Director Juan Hunt.

The ILO has also expressed concern about the gender gap. Unemployment among women increased an average of two tenths to 10.2 percent, while among men it remained stable at 7.3 percent.

He has assessed that women’s labor participation grew by almost 51 percent during the third quarter of last year, although he stressed that it is still 20 percentage points below that of men, with 74.3 percent.

Likewise, the ILO has observed “unequal behavior in relation to unemployment”, as it rose in nine of the fourteen Latin American countries analyzed, but fell seven tenths in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Hunt has considered that all this “has been reflected in the front line of the recent protests registered in the region”, in which “changes have been claimed to aspire to a better future” in the face of “the persistence of the decent work deficit” .

“The opportunities to access decent and productive employment, with fair wages, with social inclusion, with social protection and labor rights, are key to responding to social demands, to ensure that the benefits of growth reach everyone and to guarantee the governance “, he has defended.

In recent months, countries such as Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia or Colombia have been the scene of protests with various demands ranging from greater equality to the defense of the peace process with the FARC. In the case of Chile, they have led to a constituent process.

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