Last year ends with 200,000 fewer jobs, according to INDEC
Argentina’s underemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter last year compared to the 7.8 percent registered in the last three months of 2013, the INDEC statistics bureau reported yesterday.
The large increase of underemployment came with an eight percent hike in unemployment, growing to 6.9 percent from 6.4 percent in the last quarter of the year.
The figures means 200,000 jobs were lost in one year.
In a more immediate comparison, matching up to the third quarter this year, unemployment dropped 0.6 percentage points from 7.5 percent to 6.9 percent while underemployment dropped 0.1 percentage points from 9.2 percent to 9.1 percent.
INDEC’s figures confirm that the labour market has remained virtually stagnant over the past two years. Since 2012, neither the economically active population with jobs nor unemployment have registered many variations.
“INDEC’s report showed several negative figures at the same time. The labour market shrank last year and higher unemployment and underemployment rates have been reported,” Plan Fenix economist Ariel Setton told the Herald. “The labour market is going down a downward path and is still fragile. Business leaders are being cautious and some industries are seeing negative figures.”
The activity rate — calculated as the percentage between the workforce and total population — was set at 42.1 percent in the fourth quarter, 0.4 percentage points lower than the same period last year. Meanwhile, the employment rate — calculated as the ratio of people with jobs and the total population — was 42.7 percent, 0.6 percentage points lower than the same period in 2013.
Both figures are in line with the higher unemployment and underemployment rate and explain that there’s both fewer people with jobs and fewer people looking for jobs.
“It’s not such a bad figure. The number of jobs lost isn’t as high as in the previous quarters of the year but we have to take in account that the final quarter of every year tends to be better as there’s a lot of temporary employment,” Fausto Spotorno, economist and director of the Economic Studies Centre at the Orlando Ferreres consultancy, told the Herald. “The underemployment figure is surprisingly high.”
The city of Resistencia in Chaco registered full employment in the last quarter of the year, followed by a low 1.2-percent unemployment rate in San Luis and 1.3 percent in Usuahia. In the other extreme, the cities with the highest unemployment rates were Mar del Plata (10.9 percent), Córdoba (10.2 percent) and Rosario (8.7 percent).
“The figures are similar to those registered since 2012. The economy has been facing some tough years and has remained stagnant, consequently affecting the labour market,” Andrés Asiain, the director of the the Scalabrini Ortiz Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESO), told the Herald. “Many manufacturing workers who were laid off started working part time jobs and that explains the high underemployment rate.”
The higher unemployment rate comes amid a weakening economy last year. The economic activity index (EMAE) rose 0.2 percent in November compared to the same month last year, accumulating five months with drops and six with growths. The federal government expects the economy to grow 0.5 percent last year, according to the 2014 Budget Law.
The drop is largely explained by a 2.5 percent plunge in industrial output last year compared to 2013, blaming lower vehicle and steel production which couldn’t be compensated by growth in other sectors.
In December, the INDEC’s Industrial Monthly Estimate (EMI) reported its 17th consecutive monthly decline with a 2.3 percent drop compared to the same month last year and a one percent drop compared to November.
Date: February 19, 2015