San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Jobs for Some, Layoffs for Others

On the same day Boston Scientific announced it would hire approximately 1,700 more employees, a study was released saying what many people already expected: more companies in Costa Rica are likely to lay off workers and fewer have plans to hire more.

The study by Manpower Inc. is predictive, focusing on the third quarter of 2009.

The survey of more than 620 companies in the country reveals a drop of 20 percent over the past year in the number of businesses expecting to hire new workers, while the number of companies expecting to make cuts in their labor force has risen 8 percent.

“What we see is that employers are already intending to stop contracting new workers and, in some cases, they are looking to fire workers,” said Eric Quesada, the regional manager of Manpower.

This shows that companies are preparing to weather the recession, as many have shifted from a growth-oriented mindset to one of maintaining the status quo, he said. Still, the study gives only an imprecise vision of what’s to come.

“It depends on the magnitude of the changes,” said Eric Vargas, investment strategy manager at the Costa Rican financial consulting firm Aldesa.

Officially, Costa Rica has 4.7 percent unemployment, but the number is from July 2008. Marta Argüello, an economist with the Labor Ministry, said it likely has risen to around 6 percent.

–Daniel Shea


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