Governments, policymakers urged to continue focus on job generation to support continued employment in the Caribbean and Latin America
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is calling for regional governments to continue to prioritize job generation as employment is expected to present a challenge in 2022.
This despite its projection that employment levels will be “far above” 2019 levels, but still slightly lower than what was recorded in 2021.
Referencing its recently published report on the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021, the ECLAC said, “The document indicates that the region is facing a very complex 2022: uncertainty regarding the pandemic’s ongoing evolution, a sharp deceleration in growth, continued low investment and productivity and a slow recovery in employment, the persistence of the social effects prompted by the crisis, reduced fiscal space, increased inflationary pressures and financial imbalances.”
Zoning in on employment challenges, the organization added, “In terms of the labour market, employment recovered at a slower pace than economic activity last year: 30 percent of the jobs lost in 2020 had not been recuperated by 2021.
“Furthermore, the inequality between men and women was accentuated, reflecting the larger care burden on women and less dynamism in the sectors in which female employment is concentrated, such as services.
“In 2022, ECLAC projects an 11.5 percent unemployment rate for women — slightly below the 11.8 percent recorded in 2021, but still well above the 9.5 percent existing before the pandemic in 2019; while unemployment among men is forecast at eight percent this year, nearly identical to that of 2021 (8.1 percent) and still far above the 6.8 percent seen in 2019.”
Speaking further to what the ECLAC’s findings signify, UN Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena highlighted the need for governments to focus on employment creation.
“The expected slowdown in the region in 2022, combined with the problems of low investment and productivity, poverty and inequality, calls for growth and employment creation to be central elements of public policymaking while at the same time addressing inflationary pressures,” she said.
To this end, the report itself recommended that governments “prioritize investment in strategic sectors such as clean, environmental, digital energy, mobility and care, promoting employment and gender equality”.
At the same time, however, it noted that governments must still grapple with financial challenges resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as many regional governing bodies will continuously have to fund social support programmes as long as residents remain unemployed.
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean report “Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2021” - https://www.cepal.org/sites/default/files/presentation/files/220112_1250_220111_ppt_bp_2021_abi_version_final-rev4_ingles.pdf