Published On: Mon, Dec 15th, 2014

Caribbean job market faces ‘scenario of uncertainty’ in 2015, says UN report

United Nations DayMEXICO CITY, Mexico -- An “unusual pattern” has been detected in this year’s urban employment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean, which continued to fall despite warning signs of economic slowdown, said a new report released by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) on Friday.

According to the Panorama Laboral de América Latina y el Caribe 2014 (Labour Overview for Latin America and the Caribbean 2014) launched on Friday in Mexico, the region’s urban unemployment rate may reach 6.3 percent in 2015, which means that there will be some 500,000 more without jobs.

"There are warning signs," said Elizabeth Tinoco, the ILO’s regional director as she introduced the report in Mexico City. “The concern is that we are creating fewer jobs despite unemployment remaining at a low level,” she added.

Although unemployment has not risen due to this slowdown in growth, there has been a sharp reduction of new jobs reflected in the employment rate, which fell by 0.4 percentage points to 55.7 percent in the third quarter of 2014. “This means that at least one million [fewer] jobs have been created,” Tinoco said.

This “scenario of uncertainty” comes after a decade in which the region enjoyed significant economic growth. The unemployment rate dipped to record lows and allowed for a higher quality of jobs.

The urban unemployment rate of young people dropped from 14.5 percent to 14 percent but still remains between 2 and 4 times higher than that for adults. What’s more, the unemployment rate for women is 30 percent higher than that for men, and 47 percent of urban workers work in the informal economy.

“Many people who temporarily left the workforce in 2014 will return to search for a job next year, together with young people entering the labour market. The region will have to create nearly 50 million jobs over the coming decade, just to offset demographic growth,” Tinoco said.

“We are talking about almost 15 million people unemployed,” she said.

“So we have to face the huge challenge of rethinking strategies to push growth and a productive transformation of the economy to foster economic and social inclusion through the labour market,” Tinoco said.

The ILO is calling on countries in the region to prepare for the possibility of a labour market that has to take specific measures to stimulate employment and protect individual incomes.

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