San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica has the second highest unemployment rate in Latin America, according to the UN

A report released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said Costa Rica had the second highest unemployment rate in the region.

Only Colombia with an unemployment rate of 10.6 percent surpassed Costa Rica’s 8.3 percent, according to the report dated December 2013.

And looks like the kick off of tourist season won’t be much help. Some 70 percent of tourism business owners surveyed by the National Tourism Chamber said they would not hire new workers this season.

Costa Rica ended the third quarter of 2013 with an unemployment rate of 8.9, according to figures published by the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC). The country’s unemployment rate has fallen from a recent peak at 10.9 in 2011 to 8.9 in the third quarter of 2013, but still remains above its neighbors, according to the ECLAC report. 

The report said the rise in unemployment rolls was consistent with a “cooling economy,” especially in manufacturing and construction sectors.

Low high school graduation rates for Ticos between 17 and 21 have kept many from taking advantage of the better, higher paying jobs in technology and the service industry created in recent years, according to the fourth State of Education report released in September 2013.

ECLAC predicts Costa Rica’s GDP will grow 4 percent in 2014, lower than Nicaragua (5 percent) and Panama, the regional leader at 7 percent. That’s just below average for the region.

Central America and the Dominican Republic’s economies are estimated to grow at an average of 4.5 in 2014. 


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