San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican unemployment down, poverty up

The National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC) announced Tuesday that 7.3 percent of the Costa Rican populace is unemployed while 21.3 percent are considered to be living in poverty. INEC presented the information as part of the “2010 National Survey of Homes,” which surveyed 13,440 national homes in the six Costa Rican provinces during the months of July and August.
According to the survey, 149,532 of the 2,051,696 employable residents of Costa Rica are unemployed. In 2009, when the unemployment rate reached 8.4 percent, 172,205 citizens were unemployed.
“If you consider that this year we were coming out of the deep economic crisis of 2009, Costa Rica did relatively well in improving the number of people in the workforce,” said Pilar Ramos, the coordinator of the INEC survey. “The economy didn’t grow very much but employment numbers increased. It seems that Costa Ricans did well to find employment during a slow economic year.”
Though employment figures were positive, the number of households living in poverty rose almost 3 percent from its mark of 18.5 in 2009. Of the over 4.5 million residents of Costa Rica, more than one-fifth are considered to be living in poverty, with 6.1 percent living in conditions of extreme poverty. INEC found that the average national monthly salary per home is 804,366 colones ($1,600). The national average monthly salary per person was estimated at 268,592 colones ($540).
According to a study done by United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), 32.1 percent of the Latin American population lives in poverty, which represents around 180 million people. 
For more on this story, see the Dec. 3 print edition of The Tico Times

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