ILO pinpoints challenges for youth employment
28 febrero 2020



Youth employment. In early February, the International Labour Organization (ILO) published the Latin America and Caribbean Labour Outlook 2019, summarizing economic developments in the region and analyzing their impact on the labor markets over the past year. The report also reviews the employment situation for young people between the ages of 15 and 24, with an outlook for 2020. The ILO estimates that Latin America will experience a rise in unemployment rates reaching 8.4% as a result of slow economic growth in the region of 1.4%. The agency thus recommends states take measures to boost employment, and will work in the region to promote these sorts of initiatives throughout this year.

The document maintains that the labor markets in Brazil and Mexico have mitigated the rise in the regional unemployment rate due to their influence on subregional and regional averages. However, the problem of youth employability is a structural issue for most Latin American economies, as unemployment among the young is three times higher than among the adult population. Occupational segregation by gender is also prevalent. In terms of wages, real minimum wages increased by nearly 4% during the first three quarters of 2019 and more than doubled compared with the same period in 2018.

Latin America and the Caribbean were once again ranked as the region with the lowest expected growth during 2019, a position occupied since 2011 (the last year when Latin America grew faster than the rest of the world and was not the emerging or developing region with the lowest growth rate). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that 23 of the continent’s 33 economies slowed down in 2019 but expects growth in the region to recover during 2020. 

Next steps

In its Labour Overview 2019, the ILO considers that it is necessary to identify the many disruptive challenges and opportunities affecting young people’s chances of getting jobs. It notes that there is a need to discuss a new generation of youth employment policies, considering the perspective of a society which is active for much longer, and highlights aspects such as supporting lifelong learning and employability. It also recommends the use of new technological tools, and the implementation of policies by states to mitigate the challenges facing the world of work. The ILO will aim to positively influence the implementation of such measures at regional level by 2020