Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1998-1999

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1998-1999

This survey presents an overview of the regional economy and the economic performance in 1998 and the first half of 1999. It also offers individual country reports on the performance of the 20 countries of Latin America during 1998 and the first half of 1999. In addition, the Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean analyzes the economic situation in the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean. This year's edition includes a CD-ROM that contains the statistical appendix.



Employment and wages

The slowdown in economic growth was reflected throughout the region in a deteriorating situation in the labour market which thus stalled the improvement observed the previous year. In specific terms, the unemployment rate climbed from 7.3% to 8.0% —its highest level in 15 years— as a result of the rapid expansion of the labour supply (an increase in the overall participation rate) and a fairly sluggish rate of job creation (a decrease in the employment rate). This regional figure is, however, largely attributable to the unfavourable situation in Brazil, since in a number of other countries the main indicators did not start to decline until late in the year; in a third group —mainly Mexico and the Central American and Caribbean countries— employment strengthened in comparison with the previous year. Against this background, average real wages showed a slight improvement and, contrary to the tendency in the preceding years, the growth rate for real minimum wages surpassed this increase by a small margin.


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