San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Report: Growth Hasn’t Reduced Unemployment in Region

Economic growth of more than 4% annually in Central America and the Dominican Republic during recent years hasn’t substantially reduced unemployment in the region, according to a study presented last week by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Gerardina González, ILO regional director for Central America and the Dominican Republic, said employment should be among these countries’ top development policies.

“Latin America has shown a tendency toward improvement in the labor market in recent years, but this has not been the case in Central America, where we have observed an increase in unemployment and informal labor,” González said.

ILO presented its report “2006 Labor Panorama for Latin America and the Caribbean” Dec. 6. The report, based on data from 2005 from Central America and the Dominican Republic, found that more than 1 million inhabitants in the region are unemployed.

Countries with the highest unemployment rates are the Dominican Republic (18.9%) and Panama (12.1%), followed by El Salvador (7.3%), Nicaragua (7%), Costa Rica (6.9%), Honduras (6.1%) and Guatemala (4.4%).

The report found that some Central American countries have reduced unemployment since 2004, among them

Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

However, the rest of the nations have registered an increase in unemployment since then. No data was available from Guatemala in 2004, so the report could not determine whether unemployment has increased or decreased there.

On average, unemployment in the region registered 9.7% in 2005 and was shown to affect in particular young people who do not complete high school or attend universities, González explained.

In Central America, 17.4% of young people are unemployed.


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