QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica has a youth unemployment rate of around 34.2%, being the country in Latin America with the highest figure and above the regional average, which stands at 17.6%, according to the most recent report on the Labor Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on September 1.
Information from 10 countries of the isthmus that have data updated to the first quarter of 2022, such as Mexico, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Chile, Jamaica, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica, was taken as a reference.
The study suggests that young women and men were the groups with the greatest proportional job losses since the pandemic began, at which time there was already unfavorable behavior for this population, due to the high levels of informality in employed people with less than 25 years, added to the fact that the recovery phase of jobs has not gone at the same speed as that of adults.
In this sense, the regional employment rate of young people in those 10 countries during the first quarter of 2022 was 41%, almost 21 percentage points below that of adults, which was 61.7%.
For this group of countries, Costa Rica has the negative advantage, followed by Brazil with 24.4%, Argentina with 19.2%, Paraguay with 18.4% and Jamaica with 17.7%. For their part, Chile, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador and Mexico were below the regional average index.
1 out of 2 workers are informal
Although there has been a recovery in employment and employment rates, they are insufficient and are at risk in the face of low economic growth, high inflation and the crisis aggravated by the war between Russia and Ukraine.
As of the first quarter of 2022, the average unemployment rate in the region is 7.9%, the employment rate is 57.2%, and the labor force participation rate is 62.1%, figures close to those that were presented for the same period of 2019.
However, informality is what has marked this recovery. Between 50% and 80% of the jobs generated in the post-pandemic recovery process have been generated in informal conditions, according to the ILO report.
“The recovery of regional rates is positive news after the devastating impact of COVID-19. But greater informality and an increase in the number of working poor are shaping up to be major challenges for the labor markets of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022”, said Claudia Coenjaerts, Regional Director a.i. of the ILO for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Roxana Maurizio, an ILO economist, pointed out that these figures show that 1 out of 2 employed people are in informal conditions in the region, located in unstable jobs, generally with low income, without social protection or labor rights.
In 10 of 14 countries with available data, the employment rate in the first quarter of 2022 had not yet recovered the values registered in the same period of 2019. On the other hand, only in 3 of the 14 countries the economic participation rate had recovered the levels of the first quarter of 2019.