Friday, June 11, 2010

The Count: LAC 2009 unemployment

0.8... the percentage point rise in unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean during 2009. That's right folks, ECLAC and the International Labor Organization have a new report out, showing that contrary to fears about the potentially grim effects of the global financial crisis, unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean only increased from 7.3 percent to 8.1.

Following almost a decade of decreasing unemployment rates, the onset of the global crisis posed the threat of erasing all that hard-earned progress. Indeed, during the first quarter of 2009 many countries saw an alarming spike in unemployment rates. So then what happened next? To quote ECLAC:

"Although the crisis caused a drop in employment, an increase in unemployment rates and the deterioration of the quality of employment, the impact was mitigated by the signs of economic recovery as of mid-2009 around the globe, the countercyclical policies adopted in many countries and the stability of the purchasing power of wages due to decreasing inflation, which restrained the fall in domestic demand."

But how did each country fare individually? Well, below are the ECLAC/ILO numbers presented all pretty like courtesy of Maladjusted Charts™:

[South America: Percentage point change in unemployment, 2008-09]

For a while now the Count has been getting a little bored of seeing Chile "bestest-society-ever" scoring highest in every freaking social indicator around (except inequality, haha!). So it is surprising to see it leading the pack in unemployment increases. But what's most remarkable about this picture is Uruguay on the opposite end, showing unemployment actually decreasing by 0.2 points.

Not bad Uruguay. Not bad at all.


  1. Thought you nerds might enjoy this:
    Institute for Economics & Peace - 2010 Global Peace Index

    A brief background:
    "The GPI was founded by Steve Killelea, an Australian international technology entrepreneur and philanthropist. It forms part of the Institute for Economics and Peace, a new global think tank dedicated to the research and education of the relationship between economic development, business and peace. The GPI is collated and calculated by the Economist Intelligence Unit, with whom this report is written in co-operation."

    Anyways, for us Lat Am chauvinists, page 14 has the goodies.

    The big headline is that China & Cuba are safer than America...A conclusion I reached years ago contrasting my vacations in Detroit & Havana (seriously, don't stop for gas in Michigan!).

    The real story, for me anyways, is just how apolitical the results are:

    - Nicaragua (#5) maxes & relaxes with the likes of Costa Rica (#2) & Panama (#4).

    - No wonder Argentines (#6) like Maradona & Che feel at home in Cuba (#7).

    - Venezuela (#21) & Colombia (#23) insist on acting like crazy-ass Javier Bardem & Penelope Cruz from Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

    - The "peaceful, legal transition" in Honduras (#22) manages to be more unstable than the apocalyptic earthquake in Haiti (#20).

    - Chile (#3) once again proves that resource-nationalism/dependence is a good long as that resource is Copper.

  2. P.S.

    Little observation: Chile topped Lat-Am in the 2009 peace-index rankings, but got whooped by Uruguay in this recent 2010 study (Chile fell to #3, Uruguay shot up to #1).

    I'm too lazy to verify a correlation between the peace index & your unemployment study...but it's out there.