Caribbean employment not expected to decline…with appropriate intervention
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — Caribbean governing bodies, businesses and other entities will need to make a targeted effort to create jobs and encourage investments this year if they’re to maintain the positive job growth that much of the region saw in 2022.
This is according to the latest report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The organization projected that while a decline in job growth is not expected, efforts need to be made to ensure the positive employment trend keeps up.
Global challenges like inflation and a possible recession are expected to have an indirect impact on the Caribbean economy, and could therefore also negatively impact jobs — especially in the informal sector.
In its report, the ECLAC acknowledged issues like “a decline in the creation of formal jobs, a rise in informality, stagnation or falls in real wages, drops in investment and growing social demands”.
“All this puts pressure on macroeconomic policy, which must reconcile efforts to promote economic recovery through investment and job creation, on the one hand, and to control inflation and pursue fiscal sustainability, on the other,” it said.
Further, the ECLAC noted, “The performance of the labour market in the region will depend largely on economic activity and inflation, as well as the limited space to adopt policies to drive aggregate demand.
“The slowdown in GDP growth since the second quarter of 2022, which is expected to continue into 2023, is casting doubt on the possibility that labour indicators will continue improving in the region.”
That is, without appropriate intervention and continued efforts to ensure the Caribbean labour market remains robust in the months to come.
Rise in informal jobs in the Caribbean creates vulnerability
The ECLAC also highlighted a potential challenge because of the prevalence of informal jobs in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Job informality has historically posed a challenge for the region, as it makes workers far more vulnerable to external shocks.
Major international organizations and other regional experts have long urged countries to make more of an effort to bring the situation under control.
However, the matter has been made all the more urgent recently, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While job recovery has trended in a positive way over the past year, a large percentage of that has been informal jobs.
A recent report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) emphasized this issue, and now the ECLAC’s report has likewise called attention to the matter.
Both organizations are again urging the creation of more formal jobs that will help job security and stability, while also improving regional economies on the whole.
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean report, “Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean”