Globe, Latin America, Lifestyle, Youth

Young Latin Americans: unemployment at its worst

More than 10 million young people in Latin America and the Caribbean remain out of work. That is to say, the average level of unemployment has almost tripled throughout the region. Therefore, their aspirations for social mobility are cut short.


Ivette Fernández


That is, according to recently established research conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

While the estimated levels of unemployment in the region hover around 7.8%, the study states that the average unemployment rate for young people between 15 and 24 years of age in the region stood at 19.6% at the end of the third quarter of last year.

Thusly, in agreement with the Labour Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean 2018 of the ILO, the unemployment rate in this sector almost triples the average unemployment level in throughout the region.

This should be an alarm signal because it threatens the present and the expectations of millions of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who cannot find employment opportunities and whose aspirations of social mobility are cut short, the analysis established.

And it is that, in comparison with the figures of the previous year, which concluded with a rate of 18.3%, this indicator grew by more than one percentage point.

The figure for 2017, rated as the worst in a decade, represented, in turn, a rise of more than three percentage points in relation to 2016, according to the ILO Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Already at that time, it estimated that the situation could be defined as dramatic because, additionally, the youth population faces an informal employment rate estimated at 56% for the region.

To improve the employment situation of young people, it stated, it is necessary to address deficiencies in areas such as education and training, active job market policies, promotion of talent and entrepreneurship, working rights and productive development and technology.

Youth unemployment, which remained at 14% in the region between 2012 and 2014, has worsened in recent years with no short-term prospects for improvement, analysts estimate.

In a context of greater financial adjustment during 2018, where 33 countries reviewed their growth forecasts and 20 of them set it down, the possibilities in the job market seem to contract.

Likewise, the estimates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), point to growth rates for 2018 of 1.2 and 1.3% respectively, both below the 2.2% that was projected in October 2017.  According to the most recent ILO report, among other factors, the loss of economic momentum in Latin America and the Caribbean is due, first of all, to a drop in the price of raw materials as of the second quarter of 2018 that acquired a volatile character as a result of the commercial dispute between China and the United States.

According to ECLAC (cited in the analysis), the currencies of 16 economies in the region have weakened. In this context, between 2017 and 2018, the unemployment rate increased in 10 countries and decreased in seven.

As far as nations go, the report agrees, youth unemployment is widely diverse.

In Guatemala, for example, only one in twenty young people are unemployed, which contrasts with the situation in Santa Lucia where almost one in two young people are unemployed.

According to the analysis, in Brazil also has figures so alarming that, if it were excluded from the total calculation, youth unemployment would reach 12.7%.

On the other hand, while in 2017 the youth unemployment rate exceeded twenty percentage points in six countries, two nations in the area were added to these indexes at the end of the third quarter of 2018.

These are Colombia (20.2), Belize (21.3), Jamaica (23.9), Argentina (24.9), Costa Rica (26), Uruguay (26.1), Brazil (29) and St. Lucia. (43.3).

Young women are the most disadvantaged according to the ILO. Their employment rates are lower, their unemployment rates are higher, and the prevalence of precarious jobs affects them disproportionately.

For this reason, it is essential to improve the infrastructure of opportunities for young people of both sexes through appropriate social and employment policies, which make it possible to guarantee inclusive and sustainable societies, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The jobs generated in Central America are insufficient to serve the young population, which causes thousands of them to emigrate.

The jobs are insufficient for a subregion with a young population and in which more than 600,000 young people seek to enter the job market when only about 250,000 new jobs are generated. (PL)

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

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