Economy, Globe, Latin America, United Kingdom

Growing unemployment in Latin America

A regional study published this year by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows that due to the low economic growth in the area, working conditions have also deteriorated.


Teyuné Díaz Díaz


Analysis shows that this geographical area will experience a weak growth rate of 1.2 % by the end of 2017, a figure which has been revised upwards compared to what was predicted in July.

The organisations’ research specifies that the rate of urban regional unemployment rose 0.5% and could reach 9.4% by the end of the year, compared to 8.9% in 2016.

Both groups insist that the weakness of the region’s labour markets is reflected in the quality of employment, although they recognised that the real wages of formal labour increased in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Uruguay, while they decreased in Mexico and Peru.

Moreover, they report that there is stagnation in the creation of jobs in Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, while in Central America and Mexico, this variable showed greater activity.

With regard to young people, they state that the structural problems of entering into productive and decent work persist. Significant differences can be observed for those fitting the the profile of young people who study and work.

Among adolescents aged from 15 to 19 there is a large proportion of young students who work to contribute to the economy of their homes.

Meanwhile, in the sub-groups of those aged 20 to 24 and 25 to 29, those already fully admitted into the job market, and who study at a post-secondary level as the key for a successful career path, prevail.

Challenges of the labour market

The ILO claims that in the current global context, the labour market is a priority for many countries due to slow economic progress, trade limitations in global supply chains and concerns about the quantity and quality of employment.

The organisation also warns of new trends in this environment such as technological changes and innovation through which new and different ways of working are emerging and creating a complicated climate.

Some analysts believe that technological advances and innovation are an important driving force behind the sustained growth and development of the quality of jobs, however, others say they contribute to the destruction of some jobs and the risk of altering the means of production.

In the context of the increase in unemployment worldwide in 2017, the phenomenon of modern slavery that afflicts some 40 million people also stands out. Of these, 25 million are victims of forced labour and 15 million are forced into marriage without consent.

Of the 25 million people subjected to forced labour in 2016, some 16 million worked in the private sector, mainly doing domestic work, construction and agriculture.

But modern slavery is not the only way of exploiting human beings, child labour is another of the most inhumane and common forms.

The ILO confirms that around the world about 152 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are subjected to child labour. This problem is mainly concentrated in agriculture with 70.9%, 17.1% in the service sector and also in industry, where 11.9% work.

Of the exploited children, 64 million are female and 88 million are male, numbers that, according to the ILO, represent the painful figure of one out of every 10 children in the world. This form of exploitation is a violation of international law and of the United Nations treaties, which include the ILO Conventions on the subject and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Furthermore, its eradication is among the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals and it is intended that by 2025 child exploitation in all its forms should be eliminated.

(Translated by Hannah Phelvin-Hartley – Email: – Photos: Pixabay

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