QCOSTARICA – The number of people with jobs outside the formal market grew by 2.9% in the third quarter of 2015, over the same period in 2014, showing the deterioration of the competitiveness of the Costa Rican economy.
This, according to the Continuous Employment Survey published yesterday by the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC), revealing that iinformal employment in the third quarter was almost half of the employed (45.7%), that is about 942,000 (in 2014 there were 884,000) employees working without social security.
They can be salaried people, but their social security is not paid by their employer; this includes employees who had their social security payment made only once, unpaid assistants, employees of small businesses who do not have their business registered with the Caja Costarricesen de Seguro Social – CCSS (Social Security) or self-employed people with occasional work.
Almost half earn less than minimum wage.
The same survey shows an overall unemployment figure of 9.2%. In the third quarter of 2014 it was 10%.
However, Braulio Villegas, an economist at the Continuing Survey of Employment, said that the change is not statistically significant.
“We must remember that the data is generated from estimates made by means of a survey, which results in a sample of the Costa Rican population and, from the result of that sample, the estimated data is applied nationally. Therefore, these estimates include what is known as sampling error ,“explained Villegas.
The Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of Private Business Sector (UCCAEP), expressed concern after analyzing the data.
“We are concerned about the growth of the informal sector because these are Costa Rican workers who do not have all of their rights recognized such as payment of the minimum wage and detrimental to social security. Informal employment is one of the biggest obstacles we face in reducing poverty in Costa Rica,” said Ronald Jimenez, president of UCCAEP.