Monday, March 4, 2024

Unemployment rate remains below 3% in second quarter

Mexico’s unemployment rate was 2.8% in the second quarter of 2023, the national statistics agency INEGI reported Monday.

The rate is slightly higher than the record low of 2.7% recorded in the first quarter of the year, but 0.4 percentage points lower than unemployment in the April-June period of 2022.

Woman working
Statistics showed that just 46.1% of women were working, or actively seeking work. (Graciela López/Cuartoscuro)

INEGI said that 1.7 million of 60.2 million “economically active” people were unemployed in the second quarter of the year. An additional 4.7 million people were underemployed. That figure, representing 8% of Mexicans with jobs, was 391,000 lower than a year earlier.

Just over three-quarters of Mexican males aged 15 and older were in work or looking for paid work in Q2, while the figure for females was significantly lower at 46.1%.

Mexico City had the highest unemployment rate in the country – 4.4% – followed by Tabasco, 4.1%; and Coahuila, 3.7%. Guerrero had the lowest rate – 0.9% – followed by Oaxaca, 1.2%; and Yucatán, 1.6%.

Of the 58.5 million people with jobs in the second quarter, 6.6 million worked in the primary sector of the economy, 14.6 million worked in the secondary sector and 36.9 million worked in the tertiary sector, according to INEGI.

Street performer
Many Mexican workers (such as street performers) are members of the informal economy, and do not pay tax or qualify for benefits. (Juan Pablo Zamora/Cuartoscuro)

Almost 32.3 million people – 55.2% of those with jobs – were working in the informal sector, meaning that they don’t pay taxes and don’t have benefits such as paid vacations or health insurance that would allow them to seek treatment at IMSS or ISSSTE hospitals and clinics.

With 80.3% of workers in informal sector positions, Oaxaca had the highest informality rate in the country followed by Guerrero (78.1%) and Chiapas (76%). The states with the lowest rates were Coahuila (35%), Chihuahua (35.1%) and Nuevo León (36.1%).

Almost half of all workers in Chiapas – one of Mexico’s poorest states – were deemed to be in “critical” financial situations despite having a job. Tlaxcala had the second highest rate in that category, with 42% of workers in “critical” situations, while México state ranked third with a rate of 39.5%.

The number of Mexicans living in poverty declined by 8.9 million between 2020 and 2022, the federal government’s social development agency Coneval reported earlier this month. However, 46.8 million people were still living in poverty last year.

Child in southeast Mexico
While poverty has declined under the current Morena government, there were still some 46.8 million Mexicans below the poverty line in 2022.  (Adriana Álvarez/Cuartoscuro)

President López Obrador focused on the positives of the Mexican economy in a 30-second video uploaded to social media on Sunday to promote the government’s fifth annual report, which he will outline in an address in Campeche this Friday.

The economy is growing, the Mexican peso is the currency that has strengthened the most in the world against the [US] dollar, foreign investment is arriving, there is practically no unemployment, we’re the main trade partner of the United States, but we don’t forget that for the good of all, the poor come first,” he said.

With reports from Sin Embargo and Forbes México 

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