The unemployment rate stood at 7 percent in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Indec. The figure implies a reduction in unemployment of 3.2 percentage points compared to the same quarter last year, when it stood at 10.2 percent. These labor market data are in line with the recovery of economic activity and the internal market. The jump in prices in recent months, however, continues to be one of the main challenges to recompose the purchasing power of the salaried sectors.
The official statistics center published a detail with the main data on the employment situation in large urban agglomerations. Of a total of 29.1 million people residing in these localities, 46.5 percent (that is, 13.5 million individuals) are part of the economically active population. The latter implies that they have a job or pretend to have one.
Specifically considering this active population, some 12.6 million people have a job and 943 thousand individuals are unemployed. Another 3.3 million fall into the category of non-salaried workers by working on their own account, being an employer or unpaid family worker.
These estimates allow the calculation of the unemployment rate. The set of 943 thousand people without work over the 13.5 million economically active people shows an unemployment rate of 7 percent. It is a rate that at the beginning of 2021 was in two digits, which in the second quarter of that year fell to 9.6 percent, in the third quarter to 8.6 and in the fourth quarter to 7.0, that is, an identical figure to that of the first quarter of 2022.
The rebound of the internal market, with a growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 10.4 percent in 2021 and that this year advances at rates close to 6, is one of the main elements to be able to explain the fall in the levels of unemployment. This socio-labor indicator is at the lowest levels in six years, surpassing the tensions registered in the pandemic.
The expansion of the manufacturing industry, commerce, construction and infrastructure works, among other areas of activity, collaborated to recover jobs in the formal and informal sector of the economy. Put in hard numbers, in the first quarter of 2021 there were 1.3 million people unemployed in the main urban agglomerations, while in the same period this year the figure was 943 thousand people.
In the Ministry of Economy they highlighted that the Unemployment levels fell at the same time as the employment rate increased, which reached a peak of 43.3 percent. This figure is estimated from the quotient between the number of employed over the total population. The figure has been rising quarter by quarter since the beginning of 2021. At the beginning of that year there were around 12 million employed, while at the beginning of 2022 the figure rose to 12.6 million people.
Informality and income
The data from the INDEC report show that some 5.9 million people work in white (with retirement contributions), while 3.3 million individuals are in informal conditions (without pension contributions).
When the trends of the past year are reviewed, the labor informality rate represented 35.6 percent of wage earners in the first quarter of 2022, a figure that was 32.4 percent in the same period last year. At that time, the pandemic still had an impact on the domestic market, with restrictions that still affected some segments of activity.
From the Observatory of the Economic Situation and Public Policies (Ocepp) they raised about the data of the labor market that “Currently the central problem is not in the lack of work but in the income level of wage earners.” The point raised in different labor analyzes is that the jump in inflation generates a challenge to recompose the purchasing power of wages and hits harder the informal and vulnerable segments.
At this point you can also see that the rates of unemployment or precarious employment are not the same by age ranges or between women and men, according to the categories presented in the INDEC report. For example, unemployment among men is 5.9 percent, while among women it is 8.3 percent. In turn, the Young women between the ages of 14 and 29 have the highest rates of unemployment, reaching 16.8 percent.