Saint Lucia and the Region face unemployment woes
Already facing an unemployment high of nearly 25 percent, Saint Lucia is among several Caribbean islands forecasted to face even higher unemployment figures according to The International Labour Organization (ILO) and Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The two agencies forecast that unemployment will reach 6.2% regionally this year.
The unencouraging economic outlook for the current year will likely prompt a mild increase in the regional unemployment rate to 6.2% from the 6.0% registered in 2014, according to estimates released this week by the ILO and ECLAC.
In a new edition of their joint publication, The Employment Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, both institutions indicate that the 1% average expansion in economic activity forecast for the region will not be enough to reverse the deceleration process that began in 2011.
The stagnation of Gross
The report says that on a regional level the decline in labour participation—which is to say, the proportion of the working-age population that is active in the workforce, whether employed or unemployed— seen in 2014 is not expected to be repeated with the same intensity in 2015, which, coupled with a decrease in the employment rate, should lead to higher open unemployment, similar to the levels seen in 2013.
“The labour market situation in 2015 is not expected to be particularly conducive to progress in reducing poverty and inequality,” Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, and Elizabeth Tinoco, ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, state in the document’s prologue.
In effect, the report indicates that during most of the last decade and at the beginning of this current decade, Latin America and the Caribbean made important advances in poverty reduction and income distribution, in a global context characterized by growing inequality.
The first part of ECLACILO’s document analyzes the region’s labour performance in 2014 and attributes the decline in the unemployment rate seen last year to the atypical behavior of labour markets in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, more specifically to the steep fall in their labour participation rates.
In its second section, the report examines the expansion of social protection in the context of high degrees of informality in the region. It contends that, from a rights perspective, the universalization of social protection is essential to helping build societies where equality is the end-goal of development strategies.
The United Nations organizations indicate that to guarantee universal access it is necessary to integrate contributory and noncontributory components in social protection systems, which entails significant challenges, above all in terms of institutional design and financing.
It is predicted that more persons across the Caribbean will be on the
breadline this year.