Recovery causes slight decrease in regional joblessness

The economic upturn posted by most Latin American and Caribbean countries during 2010 facilitated the 0.6 percentage point drop in unemployment, and is expected to lead to a further decrease of between 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points in 2011.

The assessment came from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the International Labour Organization.

In the bulletin “The Employment Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean No. 4,” the two institutions point out that international trade and financial conditions, as well as the upturn in domestic demand resulting from macroeconomic policy, generated economic growth of around 6 percent for the region in 2010.

The document indicates that this recovery has driven the generation of formal employment, a rise in the employment rate, a fall in joblessness and a moderate increase in real wages. The document also states that the performance of different countries and subregions has been very uneven.

However, these indicators of recovery do not guarantee growth with decent work in the long term. “To bolster the improvement in labor market indicators and generate more productive employment and decent work, the region’s countries need to strengthen their macroeconomic policies, improve regional and global policy coordination, identify and remove bottlenecks in the labour market itself and enhance instruments designed to promote greater equality”, this is according to Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the economic commission, and Jean Maninat, director of the labor organization’s Latin America office.
Like the rest of the world, the Latin American and Caribbean region is also confronted with the challenge of transforming the way it produces so that its economies can develop along tracks that are sustainable in the long term, the report said. Climate change and the consequent challenge of developing and strengthening low-carbon production and consumption patterns will also affect the way people work, it added.

The document thus includes a special chapter on creating green jobs, which are ones that make a contribution to promoting the transition towards an economy with lower carbon emissions.

Although the debate about the green jobs concept is fairly new in the region, examples already exist and a number of countries have moved ahead with the application of policies and programs in this area.

Costa Rica has formulated a national climate change strategy, for example, whose foremost achievements include professional training in natural-resource management, the report noted.

In Brazil, fuel production from biomass has increased and social housing with solar panelling is being built. A number of other countries in the region are making progress in areas such as ecotourism, sustainable agriculture and infrastructure for climate change adaptation, and in formalizing the work of people who recycle household waste, it said.

The shift towards a more environmentally sustainable economy may cause jobs to be destroyed in some economic sectors and created in others. The working world will inevitably undergo major changes, the report added.

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