LIMA (CMC) – The United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO) says unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean dipped slightly in 2018 after figures steadily increased for three years.
In its Labour Overview 2018 regional report, the ILO said the unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean fell slightly to 7.8 per cent in 2018, compared to 8.1 per cent in 2017.
“In a context of slow economic growth, the improvement in the unemployment rate has been modest,” said ILO interim Regional Director Carlos Rodriguez on Wednesday, adding that there is a need “to increase the speed at which we generate more and better jobs”.
He said that the latest figures, which are based on data collected in the first nine months of 2018, mean that some 25 million women and men in the region are unemployed.
ILO Regional Economist Hugo Ñopo warned that youth unemployment in the region was at alarming levels.
He said one in five of those aged 14-25 were looking for but failing to find work.
The report also highlighted the need to step up efforts to reduce gender inequality in the world of work.
Women’s labour force participation rate remained constant in the first nine months of 2018, at 50.3 per cent, which is 20 percentage points below that for men, according to the report.
In the same period, it says the unemployment rate for women reached 10 per cent, compared with 7.3 per cent for men.
While the average unemployment rate for the region fell, at national level, it increased in 10 countries and fell in seven, the report says.
It says the decrease in the regional rate was largely driven by an improvement in Brazil – home to 40 per cent of the region’s economically active population – which saw its unemployment rate fall by 0.6 percentage points.
The report says that real minimum wages increased both regionally and in 12 of the 16 countries that provided data.
The report says one million jobs could be created if an International Monetary Fund forecast for 2.2 per cent growth in 2019 is realised.
But it also warns that future trends in the region “remain uncertain, amid labour market vulnerability to political, trade and investment fluctuations.”