Economic Reforms, Growth and Employment

Labour Markets in Latin America and the Caribbean

image of Economic Reforms, Growth and Employment

Labour conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean have long been a cause for concern. Despite relatively high economic growth rates, a large part of labour force was excluded from productive activities. This publication analyzes the evolution of Latin American and Caribbean labour markets in the 1990s and the impact of the economic reforms on them. The analysis makes it clear that the region faces a major challenge in the coming years, both in increasing the number of jobs and in improving job quality.



Sectoral trends in employment in the 1990s

Until the 1970s, the changing composition of employment in the region was marked by an increase in the share of the secondary and tertiary sectors and a decline in the share of the primary sector. At the same time, average labour productivity grew in all three and the large productivity gaps between them narrowed slightly (Weller, 1998a, pp.19-20). The crisis of the early 1980s interrupted some of these trends, especially the growth of employment in the secondary sector and of productivity in the labour markets as a whole.


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