A man sells traditional hats and flags in San Jose, Costa Rica. Photo: Telesurtv.net
A man sells traditional hats and flags in San Jose, Costa Rica. Photo: Telesurtv.net

(QCOSTARICA) Something we already knew that we wish were not true: Costa Rican unemployment, hovering around 10% for some time has crept above that mark.

The National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) reported 10.1% of the population, or 232,000 persons, are out of work during the first quarter of this year.

But the situation has not changed much since the same period in 2014 when it was 9.8%. What is deeply troubling is that despite a partial recovery from the 2008 recession, the economy has not really recovered fully and has lost ground in the form of some international companies pulling their operations out.

And as usual, the figures are different for where you live. In the urban areas, it is 10.3% while in the rural zones it is 9.7%. This is to be expected since it is in industry that the economy has lost its zip while in rural areas employment is stable although slow.

Many who were employed last year are idle this year: 2,084,210 at work last year has been reduced to 2,051,208 in the quarter just ended. And many of those, an estimated 12.9%, are underemployed. In other words, they are either over qualified for the work they have taken in desperation or working part time.

Hardest hit are mechanical repair of vehicles and retail sales with 73,000 fewer employed and transport and storage of goods with 21,000 fewer jobs. Strangely, agricultural jobs jumped by 51,000 and manufacturing is up 40,000.

It is in the “informal” work that the greatest percentage of persons were employed such as door-to-door sales, some 45.3% of those employed comprisong 929,000 persons.

Article by iNews.co.cr, with editing by the Q