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Preliminary overview of the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2014

image of Preliminary overview of the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2014
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 tradeable 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

The patterns of the main labour variables in 2013 carried over into 2014 in Latin America and the Caribbean, with sluggish economic growth keeping labour demand subdued and limiting growth in the number of wage workers, which led to a fall in the employment rate. The region’s participation rate also continued to fall faster than the employment rate, however, so urban unemployment eased down once again, notwithstanding the lacklustre economic conditions. For 2014 overall, the urban employment rate is estimated to have edged down to 56.2% from 56.6% in 2013, and urban participation to 59.8% in 2014 from 60.4% in 2013. As a result, the region’s open unemployment rate came down again, albeit slightly, from 6.2% to 6.0%. The number of urban unemployed is estimated to have fallen by 230,000, to about 13.2 million.

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