2012 Labour Overview. Latin America and the Caribbean.

New labour indicators for Latin America and the Caribbean portray a region that is experiencing its finest moment despite the crisis in other latitudes. We now face the challenge of taking advantage of this platform to remedy deficits that dampen prospects for development. The ILO’s 2012 Labour Overview for Latin America and the Caribbean reports that the unemployment rate has continued its decline and that real wages, formal employment and social protection coverage have all increased.

In 2012, the average urban unemployment rate for the region decreased once again, to 6.4%. This is a major achievement for a region where the rate exceeded 10% less than a decade ago. In 2013, the urban unemployment rate is expected to continue to fall, to an estimated 6.2%. These unemployment levels are historic lows. With respect to earnings, through the third quarter of 2012, real wages increased by more than 3% in several countries whereas the regional average for minimum wages rose more than 6%. There are strong indications that quality of employment has also improved. In several countries, wage and salaried employment, which is associated with the formal sector, grew more than ownaccount employment, which is generally linked to the informal sector. Moreover, the percentage of social protection coverage, both in terms of health and retirement pensions, now stands at more than 60% after increasing several percentage points in recent years.