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Mexico: A labour market overview

As Mexicans go to the polls on Sunday to choose a new president and legislature, the ILO presents a snapshot of the employment situation based on the May edition of "The Labour Situation in Latin America"*.

News | 29 June 2012
GENEVA (ILO News) – As in the rest of the region, Mexico’s economy grew more slowly in 2011 than it had the previous year. However, the country has seen some improvements on the employment front.
  • The unemployment rate dipped to 6 per cent in 2011 from 6.4 per cent in 2010. The average for Latin America and the Caribbean was 6.7 per cent, down from 7.3 per cent.
  • The youth unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point to 9.7 per cent, and youth unemployment was 1.7 times higher than adult unemployment, compared with a 2.2 weighted average multiple for the region.
  • Mexico had the lowest gap between female and male unemployment in Latin America, with 5.8 per cent of women and 6.1 per cent of men unemployed, down from 6.3 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively.
  • Employment increased slightly to 56.7 per cent in 2011, from 56.2 per cent in 2010. The average rate for the region was 56.1 per cent.
  • The labour force participation rate – which includes working age people who have a job and those who are unemployed but looking for a job – rose to 60.3 per cent from 60.1 per cent.
  • The global economic crisis affected formal employment, with wage employment growing only 2 per cent, as compared with 3.6 per cent for non-wage employment. By comparison, wage employment increased by 2.9 per cent in Argentina, 3.8 per cent in Brazil and 4.9 per cent in Chile.
  • From a sectoral perspective, the increases were of 2 per cent for wholesale and retail trade, 1.8 per cent for manufacturing, 1.6 per cent for construction, and 0.3 per cent for agriculture, animal production and fishing.
  • Mexico also recorded modest increases in wages. Formal employment wages were up by 0.8 per cent while real minimum wages rose 0.7 per cent from 2010.
  • Finally, while unionization rates and coverage of collective bargaining declined in most countries in recent decades, available data suggests some recovery in Mexico, as well as in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, according to the report.

* The Employment Situation in Latin America, Joint report by the ILO and the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC).