Regional employment challenged by low economic growth – report

unemployment_484486539SANTIAGO, Chile, Tuesday May 27, 2014, CMC – A new report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) says low economic growth in 2014 could affect employment in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The United Nations agencies in the joint report said the economic scenario in 2014, with an estimated growth rate of 2.7 percent, is “far from auspicious for the evolution of the regional labour market and presents major challenges for labour market policy.

“Given the modest economic growth projected for the region in 2014 and current labour participation trends, a slow pace of employment creation is forecast, which means there will likely be no significant variations in the unemployment rate,” said the organizations in the latest edition of “The employment situation in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

ECLAC and ILO said if the reduced economic dynamism translates into higher unemployment in some countries, it will be important for them to have unemployment insurance and other protective measures so they can confront this scenario.

The report takes stock of the labour markets during 2013 and emphasizes that despite the reduced economic dynamism and a minor drop in the employment rate, the unemployment rate kept falling between 2012 and 2013 and hit its lowest level in decades (6.2 percent).

Nevertheless, “there are doubts about the sustainability of this positive development in the near future,” the document insists.

According to the report, the weakness of economic growth was already evidenced in 2013 by cooling labour demand.

The report said a positive development was that during 2013 the gap between men and women decreased in terms of participation, employment and unemployment, although significant differences persist and require additional efforts to achieve gender equality in the working world.

Countries in the region have been urged to make efforts to advance the creation of quality jobs and more specifically, to promote the productive labour incorporation of youth in 2014.

The joint ECLAC-ILO document also indicates that in addition to job creation in the last decade, the strengthening of social safety nets and the introduction of new social programmes were important factors in reducing poverty.

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