Q REPORTS (EFE) The strong economic recovery registered in 2021 in Latin America and the Caribbean was not enough to recover the 49 million jobs lost in 2020 in the region, where 4.5 million people, 93% of them women, still need to be reincorporated into the labor market as reported on Tuesday by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
“Two years after the start of the pandemic, the recovery in employment has been lackluster. The labor outlook in the region is uncertain, the health emergency due to the pandemic is not over and growth expectations are not so encouraging,” said the ILO director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Vinicius Pinheiro, who warned that the crisis of employment in the region could last until 2023 or even 2024.
During the presentation of the report “Labor Overview 2021 in Latin America and the Caribbean”, the regional head of the ILO highlighted the “worrying” youth and female unemployment, weighed down by its greater incidence in informality and in the economic sectors most affected by the health crisis.
Pinheiro mentioned the persistence of informality and the absence of social protection as the “comorbidities” that led the countries of the region to a “greater vulnerability compared to the rest of the world”, both in health and economic terms, and warned that The employment indicators shown in the report paint an unfavorable picture that threatens to increase child labor and generate greater political and social instability in the region.
The study estimates that the average unemployment rate at the end of last year, when the region had economic growth of more than 6%, was 9.6%, which represents an improvement from the 10.6% reached in 2020, but still a decline from the 8% recorded in 2019.
“It has been a very modest and insufficient recovery,” said Pinheiro, who added that the low growth projected for 2022 (from 2.1% to 2.4%) threatens the path to reduce that unemployment rate, which this year could drop between 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points and thus remain above 9%.
The report’s calculations do not predict, therefore, a return to 2019 levels so quickly, when the labor market situation was far from positive in the region, which was already trapped in a scenario of slow growth, with low productivity and high levels of employment. of informality and inequality.
On this, Pinheiro insisted on the persistence of labor informality, which in Latin American and Caribbean countries affects 50% of the employed population and leads between 60% and 80% of net job creation.
As of the third quarter of 2021, the study adds, around 90% of the jobs lost during the first half of 2020 had been recovered (44.6 million of 49.1 million), which means that there are still 4 jobs to be recovered, 5 million jobs, of which 4.2 correspond to women (93.3%).
WOMEN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
In this sense, the report reveals that, since the start of the pandemic, the recovery in employment was more intense among the female population, although this did not compensate for the devastating effects felt in 2020 by the employment situation of women in Latin America, the Caribbean and the rest of the world, which is currently “more unfavorable” compared to 2019 than in the case of men.
In fact, the average unemployment rate for women was exactly the same between 2020 and 2021, standing at 12.4%, still far from the 9.4% of 2019.
“The most intense impact among women in the region is associated with the greater presence of women in economic sectors strongly affected by the crisis, such as hotels and restaurants, and in other service activities and the household sector. On the other, to the higher incidence of informality among women”, reads the report.
Another of the groups hardest hit at the labor level by the health crisis were young people between 15 and 24 years old, whose unemployment rate reached 21.4% in 2021, an index lower than the 23% of 2020 but far from the 18% that it registered. before the pandemic, when it was already considered high.
“This could be a social tragedy,” warned the ILO director for Latin America and the Caribbean, who assured that in this context it is “essential” that the countries of the region move “towards formalization” and implement measures that put “jobs and people at the center of economic recovery”.