Seven out of every 10 jobs created were in the informal sector

El Economista

By Evelyn Machuca

Translated by Martin Mowforth

25 November 2022

Key words: CEPAL; jobs; informal sector.


Unemployment levels in 2022 represent a set-back of 22 years with women especially badly affected, according to CEPAL (the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean). The majority of new jobs were created in the informal sector.

Seven out of every ten jobs that were created in the post-pandemic era were set up in the informal sector, according to the report ‘Social Panorama of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022: the transformation of education as a base for sustainable development’, presented in November by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL by its Spanish initials).

Although for 2021 income inequality (measured by the Gini Coefficient) was slightly lower for Latin America than it was in 2020 – measured at 0.458, around the same level as for 2019 – “the word ‘slightly’ has to be emphasised” said the Executive Secretary of the UN organisation, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs.

On the other hand, the unemployment level projected for 2022 represents a retrograde step of 22 years, especially affecting women for whom unemployment rose from 9.5 per cent in 2019 to 11.6 per cent in 2022.

“The impacts of the pandemic in terms of poverty and extreme poverty have not been reversed and countries are facing a silent crisis in education which affects the future of the new generations,” warned the UN official. He called on countries to make decisive investments in education and to convert this crisis into an opportunity to transform education.

Data collected for the report also showed that the percentage of youths aged 18-24 who neither studied nor worked increased from 22.3 per cent in 2019 to 28.7 per cent in 2020, this involving especially young women, 36 per cent of whom found themselves in this situation compared with 22 per cent of men of the same age.

CEPAL predicts that by the end of this year, 201 million people (32.1 per cent of Latin America’s total population) will live in poverty and 82 million (13.1 per cent of the population) will live in extreme poverty.