Joint report by ECLAC and PAHO says a “transformative recovery requires increased investment in a group of dynamic sectors to make it possible to generate quality jobs”
LAC — According to a newly released report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), more than half of the jobs lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region have been recovered within the first half of 2021.
The report outlined that although employment is at record lows, participation in the labour market is expected to continue improving.
“As of the first quarter of 2021, the region had only managed to recover 58 percent of the total number of jobs lost during the crisis,” read the report.
“For 2021 overall, the labour participation rate is projected to rise by 3.4 percentage points, from 57.7 percent in 2020 to 61.1 percent, with a larger increase for men than for women.”
In delivering their projection, however, the organizations granted that the “crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a much stronger impact on the labour market than previous crises have in terms of job losses, reductions in the labour force participation rate and higher unemployment”.
“In 2020, the health crisis sparked the most serious economic contraction of the past 120 years in Latin America and the Caribbean, which also saw the worst economic performance of all the developing regions,” their joint report read.
“Even before the pandemic hit, the region was already troubled by sluggish growth and, although the economy is expected to expand by 5.9 percent for 2021, this will not be enough for it to regain the GDP levels of 2019.
“In the labour market, both employment and the labour force participation rate are at record lows, and unemployment, poverty and inequality have reached peak levels.”
It added, “The crisis has also led to the closure of a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to the destruction of human capital and jobs.”
To remedy this, the organizations strongly recommended that “policies should promote industrial development, job creation and economic development in the countries, analyzing the local situation and the tools available to improve competitiveness and macroeconomic conditions, with a view to fostering investment”.
“A transformative recovery requires increased investment in a group of dynamic sectors to make it possible to generate quality jobs; promote innovation; diversify exports; implement actions to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change; and deploy regional cooperation initiatives,” the report noted.
Joint report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Pan American Health Organization, “The prolongation of the health crisis and its impact on health, the economy and social development”: https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/10665.2/54991/eclacpahoreport2021_eng.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y