No new jobs in Latin America

Michael Pollak mpollak at
Sun Aug 22 22:15:11 PDT 1999

[Apropos Doug's remark that Casandras might think about switching their focus to Latin America]

[BTW, I always do a double take when I see that Colombia continues to be ranked among the best performing economies in Latin America over the last 15 years. In such reports, the war never gets a mention; in reports on the war, the economic progress never get mentioned. At first I assumed this was just another neo-liberal house of mirrors, where great macro-economic numbers for investors are the direct result of immiseration; then the simultaneous advance of war and "progress" would make sense. But the economy seems to get the same praise from people with a social welfare perspective; economic progress seems to have been broad and to have substantially helped the workers. Which makes it look like the disconnect between war and economy reflects more a disconnect between the city and the countryside.]

Economic reform not generating employment in Latin America, U.N.


Copyright © 1999 Nando Media

Copyright © 199 Associated Press

GENEVA (August 22, 1999 9:45 p.m. EDT -

Economic growth and price stability in Latin America and the Caribbean

have failed to reduce unemployment or boost workers' earnings,

according to a new United Nations report.

Development in the region could stall if efforts are not made to

tackle rising unemployment rates and job insecurity, said the 149-page

report, which was being released Monday. It was written by Juan

Somavia of Chile, director-general of the International Labor


Global economic troubles "will thwart growth in the region even

further," the report said. It predicted the regional economy will

shrink by 0.4 percent.

The study said unemployment in the region could hit 9.5 percent this

year. That would be higher than during the 1980s debt crisis, despite

a decade of economic reform and modernization.

Last year's region-wide unemployment rate was 8 percent.

The report singled out four countries - Chile, Bolivia, Costa Rica and

Colombia - where it said labor conditions, wages and unemployment

rates have improved.

But, the report said, labor problems increased in Argentina, Brazil,

Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela, where reforms were more recently


In those countries, drastic public-sector job cuts and limited

private-sector job growth are contributing to the employment woes, the

report said. It said the private sector's share in total employment

was 28 percent last year, down from 32 percent in 1990.

Where jobs are being created, they are most often unofficial, the

report said - small-scale services, farming and temporary or part-time


"Unfortunately, workers in this sector are almost never protected by

any laws, nor are they usually able to join recognized unions that

would protect their interests," the report said.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of 35 of the region's

countries in Lima, Peru beginning Tuesday.

Copyright © 1999 Nando Media

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