The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said on Thursday that job recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean was attained in 2022 after the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Washington, D.C.-based financial institution said the region registered “a total recovery of jobs in the second half of 2022, reaching levels greater than those observed before the pandemic.”
By September 2022, the IDB said economies in the region had gained 8 million extra jobs compared to those available in March 2020 when the pandemic hit.
The IDB said this is one of the main conclusions of its Labor Market Observatory in its latest report analyzing the labor markets of 15 countries in the region.
“The study shows an uneven recovery among the different countries and sectors of the economy and highlights the growth of formal employment throughout the year,” the IDB said.
But despite the good news, it said the report emphasizes that net employment growth in the last 30 months is “still slow and that even as 2021’s economic recovery led employment to its peak in November of that year, it slumped again in the first months of 2022.”
“This rise we saw in the third trimester of 2022 means that we barely had an annual growth rate of 2 perce4nt in almost 30 months, which only increases the slow improvement we were dragging from previous,” warns Oliver Azuara, senior specialist at the IDB.
The IDB said even when the impact of the sanitary crisis was harder for disadvantaged groups in the region, mainly affecting younger and informal workers, those with lower education levels, and specially women, “the total job recovery observed in the second half of 2022 is explained by the growth of women’s employment.”
For the first time in the pandemic, women’s employment recovery “marginally exceeded men’s employment recovery.”
This, according to Laura Ripani, IDB head of the Labor Markets Division, means that “only the percentage of the gender gap deepened and worsened by the pandemic was closed and that the absolute gender gap persists.”
Additionally, the study points to a growth in formal employment in the second half of the year that surpasses the growth of informal employment, “showing a rise in quality employment, though not at the rate and velocity the region requires.”