Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mexico’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in nearly a year in February

Mexico’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in almost a year in February, dropping to 2.45% from 2.85% in January.

Data published by the national statistics agency INEGI on Wednesday showed that the economically active population (PEA) was made up of just under 60.9 million people in February and 1.49 million of that number were unemployed. The PEA refers to people in work or looking for work.

The 2.45% unemployment rate was the lowest reading since March 2023, when just 2.4% of the PEA was jobless. The unemployment rate for women was 3.1%, while 2.4% of economically active men were jobless last month.

At 2.58%, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was slightly higher than the unadjusted rate. However, that rate was the lowest since INEGI began publishing seasonally-adjusted figures in 2006.

The total number of unemployed people in February was more than 235,000 lower than the figure recorded in January.

Many of the people who entered the workforce in February found employment in the informal sector, which added far more jobs than the formal sector.

A Mexican laborer tends the land
Job loss in the agricultural sector was offset by growth in the manufacturing sector. (Tomas Castelazo/Wikimedia)

Last month, some 32.4 million Mexicans were employed in the informal sector, in which workers don’t pay taxes and don’t have access to benefits such as health care and paid holidays. That figure equates to 54.5% of all workers.

The percentage of workers in the informal sector declined one point compared to February 2023, INEGI said, but rose 0.4 points compared to January and 0.9 points compared to December.

Jesús Anacarsis López, deputy director of analysis at Banco Base, said that reducing the informality rate is “one of the most significant challenges of the Mexican labor market.”

INEGI also reported that 3.8 million people in jobs were underemployed in February, meaning that they wanted or needed to work more hours. That figure accounts for 6.5% of all Mexicans workers, down from 7.6% a year earlier.

Which sectors added the most jobs in February?

The manufacturing sector added more than 631,000 positions in February, while the services sector workforce increased by almost 433,000 people.

Which sectors lost the most jobs in February?

More than 398,000 jobs were lost in the agriculture sector last month, while the construction sector shed almost 141,000 positions.

Looking ahead

Janneth Quiroz, director of economic analysis at the Monex financial group, said that unemployment will “possibly” continue to fall in the first half of 2024.

She noted that the upcoming elections will create additional opportunities for temporary work, and unemployment could decline as a result.

With reports from El Universal, El País and El Economista 

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