International organizations urge Caribbean nations to focus on job creation in pandemic recovery

ECLAC, ILO strongly recommend policies to foster job creation, encourage workforce reintegration 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As the world continues recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, Caribbean governments must focus on job creation, which has “lagged behind” economic recovery, urged the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in a joint report released yesterday.

“Labour markets in 2021 continued to suffer the effects of the crisis caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic,” the report noted.

A sign reads "job creation" against a blue sky.

Employment recovery and job creation have been partial and have lagged behind the recovery in economic activity.”

It added, “Given the slow recovery of labour markets, policies to boost employment are still very important and the challenge is to make progress both in creating new jobs and in avoiding the destruction of existing sources of employment.”

Describing the need to bolster job creation, and formal employment in particular, during this time as a “crucial labour policy challenge”, the organizations also stressed that “measures to accelerate the process of unemployed persons re-joining the formal labour force are key”.

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    “Broadly speaking,” the joint report read, “employment policies to address the impact of the pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean have followed the same pattern as in more advanced countries: during the period of lockdowns and high infection rates in 2020, policies to maintain employment ties predominated, while in 2021, policies to encourage new hires have become more prominent.”

     

    Incentives for job creation

    The ECLAC and ILO also acknowledged successful efforts made by governments in the region to support both new employment as well as a return to the workforce.

    However, the organizations underscored that nations must continue to ensure the most vulnerable in society rejoin the labour force.

    A person holds a small note reading “back to work” on a white, sandy beach.

    Noting that “hiring incentives took on new importance in 2021 in several countries in the region”, the report outlined, “International experience indicates that employment support measures have successfully reduced falls in employment…”

    It also noted, however, “Amid expectations that growth dynamics will be slow and highly uncertain in the coming years, governments face the challenge of supporting labour market entry and reintegration by the most vulnerable segments of society while also fostering the conditions for decent job creation, especially among microenterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

    “In the medium term, reforms will be needed to make labour markets more resilient by supporting reactivation measures with programmes to drive the shift from informality to formality, together with a redesign of social protection.”

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    Links:

    Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and International Labour Organization joint report “Employment Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean” - https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/47511/3/S2100694_en.pdf

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