Mexico’s unemployment rate fell to 2.8% in December, according to the national statistics institute, INEGI, despite the country losing an overall 912,014 jobs.
The loss to the job market followed two months of consecutive growth. Nevertheless the unemployed population in Mexico fell by 77,900 people to 1,646,000.
The workforce, which INEGI refers to as the economically active population (PEA), totaled 59.6 million people, which reflects a participation rate of 59.7%, or 580,000 more people than in December 2021. The economically active population includes both people of working age who have jobs and who are looking for work.
Employed individuals who make up the economically active population grew by a million people between December 2021 and December 2022, amounting to a total of 57.9 million. At the same time, the non-economically active population, which refers to retired people and those dedicated to unpaid work or schooling, increased by 94,000, bringing the total to 40.2 million individuals.
The number of people who have the need and availability to work more than they currently do, defined as the underemployed population, fell by 1.5 million over the course of the year. There are now 4.2 million individuals, or 7.3% of the employed population, looking for more work.
Most job eliminations occurred in the informal sector, at 655,772 positions, or 72% of the country’s total. The remainder of the losses, in the formal sector, amounted to 256,242. This contrasts with December of 2021, when 455,538 jobs were created as the labor market started to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority of workers in Mexico are still employed informally, at 54.9% of the total workforce. This represents a slight downward shift from November, when the number was 55.2%. According to INEGI’s National Occupation and Employment Survey, 31.8 million people are employed informally.
Overall, the number of jobs held by women decreased by 275,838, while 636,176 positions held by men were eliminated.
The service sector lost the most jobs, with 689,705 fewer positions, followed by agriculture at 168,591. The industrial sector saw 59,630 jobs disappear. However, the construction sector grew, adding 214,500 new jobs. Restaurants and lodging also added 179,600 new positions, and there were 91,400 new government jobs.