Employment and wages. On January 9, the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) published the report “Labor Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean: Challenges and Opportunities for the Labor Inclusion of Young People and the Redistribution of Care Work”. Looking ahead to 2024, it is pointed out that, although labor informality and unemployment are decreasing, it is likely that the impact of the regional economic slowdown will create greater difficulties for the employment rate, salaried and formal employment to continue to increase. In view of this, international organizations recommend promoting measures to ensure the development of new industries through the use of technologies.
The report shows that the recovery of labor markets in the post-pandemic allowed the reduction of the general unemployment rate by 1%, reaching a rate of 6.7% in the first half of 2023, the lowest since 2015. On the other hand, despite the fall in regional inflation, real average wages show diverse evolutions. Of the 11 countries considered with available information, 7 register a contraction and 4 exhibit an increase in real average wages in the first half of 2023. Among the countries with increases, Brazil (6.7%), Mexico (4.2%) and Peru (3.7%) stand out, while the most significant falls in real average wages are observed in Nicaragua (-2.9%), El Salvador (-2.8%) and Argentina (-1.9%).
However, with a view to 2024, when economic growth will moderate or even reverse, both entities call for measures to prevent labor markets from being affected. Thus, the document points out that adaptation to the technological revolution and economic diversification represent opportunities for structural change that prioritizes equality and sustainability in development. The emergence of jobs associated with digital platforms and modalities such as telework “offer flexible hours and the possibility of combining income with other activities”.
Likewise, both entities call for strengthening the universal social protection granted by the States to people to break with structural inequalities and allow the entry of young people and women to the new labor scheme offered by technology. Universal social protection includes: cash transfers for everyone who needs them; benefits and support for people of working age in case of maternity, disability, work-related accidents or for people out of work.
In view of the possible economic slowdown that could occur in the region in 2024, ECLAC and the ILO recommend that regional governments promote measures that encourage the use of new technologies as a mechanism to boost the creation of new jobs. They also recommend promoting social protection measures. In view of this, both organizations will seek to promote joint work with the governments of the region to contribute their technical expertise to the promotion of these issues.