The labor market was one of the fields hardest hit by the pandemic since 2020, but also one of the most resilient to recovery. Less than a week after Iván Duque hands Gustavo Petro the keys to the Palacio de Nariño, the national figures still seem to have a significant way to improve.
First, it is important to highlight the recovery of jobs despite the health emergency that this government experienced. Thus, currently the number of employed persons amounts to 22.03 million, and shows a recovery of 1.9 million jobs if June 2022 is compared with June 2021.
“What is observed from the Dane (National Administrative Department of Statistics) survey is a strong growth in employment, with high historical rates, and those who were most highly affected by the pandemic are recovering. The level of employment that existed before the pandemic has already passed, but more needs to be grown,” says Stefano Farné, director of the Externado University Labor Market Observatory.
However, the concept of employed employed by Dane includes all people who worked at least 1 hour in the last week prior to the surveys carried out by the entity in exchange for monetary or in-kind income, or worked at least 1 hour without receiving payment as a family worker; or who did not work, but had a job or business.
This, however, is far from the conception of formal employment, and figures from the same entity indicate that the proportion of employed persons in the country is 44.7%, that is, that almost half of the workers are informal.
Indicators from the Pension and Parafiscal Unit (Ugpp) show that in the country there are, within this universe of employed persons, only 12.86 million contributors to the social security system. Of these, 10.6 million are dependent, and 2.21 million independent, according to figures for April, the last month for which information on contributions is available.
“Informality has an initial conceptual definition, as measured by the Dane Great Integrated Household Survey, but there is another measurement, against social security data, against which of those 22 million employed people how many are in social security, which it is a little less than half”, explains Iván Jaramillo, researcher at the Labor Observatory of the U. del Rosario.
Jaramillo emphasizes that informality is a typical problem in Latin America and the Caribbean, since “there is a lot of incentive against informality, since social security is seen as a cost with no return in the short term,” and points out that active policies are needed for the creation of formal employment.
The Public Employment Service, for example, details that by June 262,360 job offers were registered nationwide within these platforms.
One of the most important indicators is the unemployment rate, which has been falling in recent months, and in June it stood at 11.3%. Though the number of unemployed compared to the previous year is lower by 650,000 citizens, the country still has 2.79 million unemployed. And likewise, this situation hits some social groups more strongly, such as women and young people.
Thus, the unemployment rate for women is 14.1%, a significant gap compared to the male population, whose unemployment is 9.2%. As for people between 15 and 28 years old, there is a record of 1.2 million unemployed, 2.88 million young people who do not work, and unemployment at 19%, according to the latest official statistics for the March- May 2022.
“The balance in the workplace is quite worrying, I think the current government lost the year against the workers. The pandemic only exacerbated the structural problems that had been deepening prior to it, completely unveiling the configuration of an economy with broken links between production, productive dynamics, and employment”, indicates Dewin Pérez, PhD in economics, professor at the University of Cartagena , member of the Labor Observatory.
LAURA LUCIA BECERRA ELEJALDE