Social Panorama of Latin America 1999-2000

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What are the objective reasons why so many Latin Americans do not feel safe and see themselves as being defenceless? Does the Occupational stratification engendered by current patterns of development promote social mobility and the growth of the middle class? In an effort to answer these questions, this publication examines the deterioration of conditions in the labour market. It also looks at the available means of accessing social services, with emphasis on the types of public policies needed to tackle the problems of social vulnerability and poverty. It presents analysis of occupational stratification, indicates what percentages of the labour force fall into high-, middle- and low-income groups and explores how these phenomena are related to educational and household income levels. It also discusses how the level and coverage of pension systems affect income distribution in Latin America.



Main trends in unemployment during 1998-1999 and in job insecurity during the 1990s

During the period 1998-1999, the open unemployment rates of the countries in the region followed the trend of production activity, although to differing degrees, depending on the particular characteristics of the labour market in each case. Thus, in 1999, unemployment continued to fall in Mexico and in most of the Central American and Caribbean countries, while it rose sharply in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela and more moderately in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay, and remained steady in Brazil, after a rise in 1998. In addition, the trend towards increasingly insecure working conditions that had been a feature of the entire decade, as evidenced in the growth of non–permanent forms of waged work and the rising percentage of workers who have no employment contract or social security coverage, tended on the whole to become entrenched.


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