Monday 29 May 2023

Costa Ricans the most pessimistic in the Isthmus about the economic situation in 2021

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QCOSTARICA – Costa Ricans are the Central Americans who view the country’s economic future with the greatest pessimism.

The least pessimistic are the Nicaraguans.

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The foregoing is clear from a virtual survey conducted by Kantar, the largest information, insights and consulting company in Central America & the Caribbean.

The survey took in the response of 1,227 citizens from Guatemala to Panama. In Costa Rica, 199 people were consulted, especially from the Greater Metropolitan Area.

Unflattering answers

Faced with the question, “Cómo cree usted que será la situación económica del país en el 2021” (How do you think the country’s economic situation will be in 2021), Costa Ricans had the largest number of unflattering responses.

Nearly 8 out of every ten responses said 2021 will be worse than in 2020; the remaining two divided by equal or better.

Vivian Gálvez, director of Kantar CAM’s Worldpanel division, acknowledged that the responses are a reflection of the impact of the crisis caused by the pandemic.

But, in the case of Costa Rica, it reveals a very affected middle class, compared to the rest of Central American nations where the middle class is smaller and less robust.

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Gálvez, however, trusts that the greater openings that have occurred in the country, as well as the vaccination processes which began on December 23, will stimulate and improve the economy for the second half of this year.

Difficult picture

But the start of 2021 for Costa Rica is not at all pleasant. The unemployment rate was 21.3% in the months of September, October and November 2020, according to the most recent Continuous Employment Survey published by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) – National Institute of Statistics and Censuses.

This means that 517,000 people were out of work in that period. This is an increase of 206,000 people compared to the same three months of 2019.

The INEC also recently revealed that the pandemic had an impact on microbusinesses (those that have 1-9 employees), which decreased by 7.3% compared to 2019, which translates to some 30,000 businesses,  ceased to exist.

Regional pessimism

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The same survey was also applied in Mexico and several South American countries, and the results show some contrasting results.

In Mexico, for example, the perception prevails that the economic outlook for 2021 will be the same as 2020.

In Argentina, the scenario is less promising: 68% of those surveyed said that the country’s situation will be worse in 2021 than last year. Only 9% said it will improve.

In Brazil, pessimism is around 54% and in Colombia 41%.

“It is evident that changes in shopping habits will continue and also in the day-to-day way of living,” said Gálvez.

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