Society

Pandemic ends 26 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean, says ILO

Also, there was a general reduction in working hours and, consequently, a reduction in income from work

Informal jobs
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  • The average occupancy rate in the region fell from 57.4% to 51.7% at the end of 2020, which represents 26 million fewer jobs;
  • As activities resume, there is a high risk that informality will increase further, as people will need to work and may not find any more formal vacancies that existed before the pandemic;
  • High informality, persistent inequality, low productivity and scarce social protection coverage, added to problems that still persist are part of the outstanding issues in the region.

A report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) points out that the Latin America and Caribbean region lost 26 million jobs in a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The employment crisis was worsened by new waves of contagion, slowness in vaccination and pre-existing structural problems.

According to the report, the average occupancy rate in the region fell from 57.4% to 51.7% at the end of 2020, which represents 26 million fewer jobs.

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Another characteristic of the region’s employment scenario is that there was a general reduction in working hours and, consequently, a reduction in income from work. Latin America and the Caribbean had the largest reductions in working hours in the world.

The prospects for the labor markets in these countries are uncertain and will require “ambitious actions” to generate new job opportunities, says the ILO. This job recovery process, however, should put in perspective social and economic conditions that explain why the effects of the pandemic on employment in the region were so strong.

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“High informality, persistent inequality, low productivity and scarce social protection coverage, added to problems that still persist, such as child labor and forced labor, are part of the outstanding issues in the region”, says Vinícius Pinheiro, ILO director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Formal and informal job suffered a strong impact

According to the ILO, both formal and informal jobs declined sharply, but the impact was greater on informal job – so much that the rate of informality came to fall because of the low demand for jobs. However, as activities resume, there is a high risk that informality will increase further, as people will need to work and may not find any more formal vacancies that existed before the pandemic.

READ ALSO: A decade will be lost in economic terms for Latin America due to the COVID-19, says ECLAC

ILO regional data show that the labor recovery in the second half of 2020 was driven almost entirely by informal jobs growth. These occupations would account for more than 60% of the total increase in work.

“The formal labor deficit is likely to be more evident for certain groups of workers such as young people, women and adults with lower qualifications, groups that structurally face greater difficulties in finding formal work,” said Roxana Maurizio, a specialist in labor economics. of the ILO.

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