Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013

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This publication highlights a regional slowdown in GDP growth. It argues that the currency depreciation seen in several countries in the region could, if sustained, increase incentives for investment in tradable sectors other than the region’s traditional exports (commodities), while redirecting expenditure to ease pressure on the current account. Growth-supporting industrial, trade, environmental, social and labour policies that take into account the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, could help lessen the region’s structural heterogeneity. Growth combined with greater equality would thus gain economic and social sustainability, with greater reliance from investment and exports than before. It is argued that this combination would be aided by social covenants for investment.

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Employment and wages

Preliminary information shows that unemployment fell once again in the region, albeit edging down very slightly from 6.4% in 2012 to 6.3% in 2013. Contrasting with the robust performance of the labour market in 2012, however, this year the dip in unemployment was not due to job creation but rather to a reduction in the labour supply, expressed as a lower overall participation rate.

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