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Social Panorama of Latin America 2000–2001

image of Social Panorama of Latin America 2000–2001

The social situation in Latin America in the late 1990s was influenced by the slowdown and greater volatility of economic growth. Despite the economic recovery seen in 2000, the effects of the contraction were felt in many countries of the region. This publication devotes special attention to poverty trends and rates in the late 1990s, inequality in income distribution, the employment and unemployment situation, the countries' progress in raising social expenditure and the distributive effects of such increases. In it's final chapter, this publication reviews the Governments' agenda in relation to family issues. The analyses of each of the topics covered in the five chapters that make up the Social Panorama combine an examination of the latest trends in the main social indicators with an assessment of the trends seen throughout the 1990s.

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Trends in employment and changes in the occupational structure

During the 1990s, the job supply rose in Latin America at an average annual rate of 2.6%, while the demand for workers increased at 2.2%. As a result of inadequate job creation, unemployment rose significantly in that period to around 8.6% (over 18 million persons) by the end of the decade. At the same time, there was a decline in the quality of employment —measured in terms of the degree of informality of the economy— given that 7 out of every 10 new jobs in urban areas were generated in the informal or low–productivity sectors. Over the last ten years, the female labour force participation rate increased from 37.9% to 42.0% and there was a trend towards the feminization of some occupations; however, the male/female unemployment gap has widened further.

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