Unemployment in the final quarter of last year reached 9.1 percent, the INDEC national statistics bureau reported today, an increase of 1.9 percentage points in the year-on-year comparison.
In a year that saw the economy slip into recession, inflation reach 47.6 percent, GDP decrease by 2.6 percent and the peso's value against the dollar fall after a currency crisis, joblessness however did not rise into double digits, confounding the expectations of most private analysts.
The figure was also lower than the 9.6 percent posted in mid-2018 as well as in a more distant past the double-digit employment prevailing between 1994 and 2005 (with double severance paid between 2001 and 2005 for that reason). Argentina has not officially seen double-digit unemployment since 2005.
Joblessness varied throughout the year, INDEC's data indicates, yet quarterly figures remained roughly on equal footing. In the first quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent, rising to 9.6 percent in the second quarter, before falling to nine percent in the third.
In the last quarter of 2017, joblessness stood at 7.2 percent.
At the tail-end of 2018, the region with the highest regional unemployment rate was seen in Greater Buenos Aires, standing at 10.5 percent.
Underemployment – officially, part-time work or the under-use of a worker due to a job that does not use the worker's skills – stood at 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to 10.2 percent for the same period of the previous year.
Youth unemployment rose sharply from 11.4 to 15.4 percent in the annual comparison.
The economically active population of Argentina – i.e. officially registered workers in both the public and private sector – stands at 12.9 million people, INDEC reported. Over a third of jobs, an estimated 35.3 percent, are informal or unregistered.
The CGT’s immediate reaction to these figures was to call a march for April 4. At the start of this week Production and Labour Minister Dante Sica said that there would be no floors or ceilings in this year’s collective wage bargaining (for the first time in years).