Employment rate anticipated to see modest recovery but uphill struggle predicted for hard-hit, tourism-dependent regional nations
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Employment in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region is projected to hit 55 percent this year, up modestly from the 54 percent recorded last year, according to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) World Employment Trends 2022 report.
The ILO noted that while some measure of improvement is expected, full recovery from the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will likely remain “elusive” this year and even going into the next.
“Overall, key labour market indicators in all regions — Africa, the Americas, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia — have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels,” the organization noted.
“For all regions, projections to 2023 suggest that a full recovery will remain elusive.
“The European and Pacific regions are projected to come closest to that goal, whereas the outlook is the most negative for Latin America and the Caribbean and for Southeast Asia.”
It added, “Latin America and the Caribbean was the most severely hit sub-region in 2020, with high levels of contagion and mortality, the sharpest decline in GDP (7.5 percent) and a drop in working hours equivalent to 36 million full-time jobs.”
LAC employment projections
In a breakdown of its figures, the ILO cited the employment-to-population ratio for Latin America and the Caribbean as 57.8 percent in 2019, 52 percent in 2020 and 54.2 percent in 2021. It further projected that those figures will be 55.3 percent in 2022 and 55.8 percent in 2023 — notably still not attain pre-pandemic levels but nonetheless an improvement compared to the pandemic lows.
Conversely, unemployment for the region was cited as 7.9 percent in 2019, 10.1 percent in 2020 and 10 percent in 2021, with projected figures of 9.3 percent and 8.8 percent in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
In this vein, the ILO urged regional governments, “It is critical that policies now focus on generating formal employment on a sufficient scale not only to absorb the rebounding labour force but also to fend off any risk of deformalization.
“This applies to policies that support MSMEs, ensuring they reach the minimum level of efficiency and profitability required for the creation of decent work, and policies that encourage ‘e-formalization’ and facilitate the transition of enterprises — including many new digital enterprises — to formality.
“It is also crucial that a comprehensive employment strategy be an integral part of the economic recovery strategy.”
International Labour Organization World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2022 - https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_834081.pdf