28% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have lost their jobs, according to a recent World Bank survey

The employment rate shows a recovery in some Latin American and Caribbean countries, although in most it still remains below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. Further, there is a drop in the quality of available jobs, as well as a decrease in the number of hours of paid work per week, according to data from a new survey by the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

According to the results, women have been particularly affected by the crisis, not only was the initial impact stronger for them, but also the recovery of the labor market has been slower. Especially, mothers of children between the ages of 0 and 5 have been most affected, details a statement from the World Bank.

For the region as a whole, the employment rate stood at around 62%, almost 11 percentage points below the pre-pandemic level. Only in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador is the employment rate slightly above pre-crisis levels.

The note indicates that formal employment fell 5.3% in the region, self-employment grew 5.7% and the proportion of workers employed in small businesses, of up to 4 workers, increased 8%, which shows a deterioration in the quality of employment available.

It adds that among the employed population there is evidence of a decrease in weekly hours of paid work, from 43 to 37 at the regional level, which confirms this negative evolution.

The survey shows that 28% of people who had a job before the pandemic lost it, and more than half (17% of those with a job before the pandemic) left the workforce. These impacts mostly affected women with young children: 40% of female workers over 18 with children between 0 and 5 years old lost their pre-pandemic job, compared to 39% of women overall and 18% of men.

Affected by educational level

Workers (both men and women) with less education were more affected by the pandemic. 35% of those with primary education or less lost their job in this period, while for employees with secondary education the proportion reached 28%. Approximately 19% of individuals with a tertiary level or higher lost their jobs.

According to the data collected, as a consequence of the setbacks in the labor market, just over half of the households in the region have not yet managed to recover their family income prior to the pandemic. This, despite the efforts made by governments through direct transfer programs and other benefits implemented to help families. It is worth mentioning that approximately 38.0% received emergency transfers.

Food insecurity

The survey further revealed that food insecurity still affects 23.9% of households in Latin America and the Caribbeanand. This is almost twice the level reported by households before the pandemic, of approximately 12.8% of households. However, there is evidence of a relative improvement with respect to the levels observed in June 2020 in most countries.

The series of High Frequency Telephone Surveys, the second phase of which was implemented this year in 24 countries in the region, addresses many other aspects of the well-being of families in the region.

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