The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic still persist on the Argentine job market with a significant percentage of the population inactive despite the pickup registered in employment levels in recent months, a new report has warned.
The number of people who neither have nor seek employment, despite being of working age, reaches eight million, according to a study from the Fundación Éforo think-tank.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) considers that "the increasing inactivity is one of the main consequences of the current job crisis" while stressing that reinserting people in working life is more complex on the basis of inactivity than of unemployment.
The report, Caracterización de la población inactiva en edad de trabajar (2021), prepared by the Fundación Éforo, reveals over half the Argentine population to be inactive or approximately 24 million people (around 53 percent).
Of that total, some 16 million people are outside the legal working age while eight million do not work despite having the right age to do so, 65 percent of them female and 35 percent of them male.
As for age-groups, 4.3 million of the inactive are above the age of 24 while the remaining 3.7 million are aged between 15 and 24, of whom 2.9 million are studying and 800,000 neither work nor study. The study further details that within the inactive population, 5.4 million people, most of them women, have no source of income.
Out of the total population (around 46 million people according to the provisional Census 2022 data), 6.3 percent are inactive people who have not finished their secondary education while a further 7.3 percent are inactive despite complete secondary studies or incomplete university studies with one percent of the total population unemployed professionals who are not actively seeking work (approximately 460,000 people).
As for type of household, the report reveals a differential distribution of inactivity. In homes of two parents it is more frequent to find at least one person of working age inactive. Of the three million households with one member inactive, 2.1 million (70 percent) have two parents while 1.8 million of such homes have the other member working in the labour market.
Of this type of household, 54 percent (or approximately 1.1 million) are in a situation of social vulnerability (43 percent impoverished and 11 percent destitute) while 90 percent or 1.6 million women who neither seek nor have employment are female.
The report analysed that “both informal employment and labour inactivity mostly affect women and youth,” expressing that “among the factors explaining inactivity we must take into account the role of domestic tasks, the distribution of care (of children and the elderly), the educational level and the structure of the household.”
In that sense, it added that “the inactivity of persons of working age must be understood as a situation which exceeds individual decision-making and responds to broader and more complex social scenarios.”
Employment on the rise?
The data of the SIPA (Sistema Integrado Previsional Argentino) pension system, which takes into consideration the employer contributions of registered company employees, show the number of registered jobs last November to reach 13.018 million. This implies that 47,825 people joined the job market, which meant a monthly improvement of 0.4 percent or 5.1 percent when measured year-on-year, i.e. 630,759 more jobs than the previous November.
The increase is partly due to the increase in the number of independent workers (as opposed to wage-earners), especially those persons registered as paying the taxation for the self-employed (monotributo). These grew a monthly 1.6 percent last November or 7.7 percent year-on-year (135,900 more people) while those in the social categories of the taxation of the self-employed rose 39.7 percent year-on-year, implying 156,600 more people. There were almost 5,000 more self-employed professionals (autónomos) registered by the SIPA during the last year. Thus 297,500 of the 630,800 people registered in the last year of the social security system were not wage-earners (48 percent), thus implying the creation of over 330,000 jobs paying salaries.
by Joaquín Morosi/Noticias Argentinas