October 6, 2022

ILO director: No quick recovery for Caribbean economies

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labour peopleBy Wesley Gibbings From T&T Guardian

Though the current downswing in the economic fortunes of Latin American and Caribbean countries cannot rate in shock value against the global, economic “heart-attack” of 2007-2008, for some it can probably be likened to the onset of chronic, silent killers such as hypertension and diabetes.

International Labour Organization (ILO) regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jose Manuel Salazar, would prefer a comparison to “a very strong cold or indigestion”, with the prognosis being for slow, sustained contraction during a period that will place greater stresses on labour markets.

The ILO’s 2015 Labour Overview speaks of an economic slowdown whose accumulated effects can be described as a “slow-motion” crisis. In an exclusive interview with T&T Guardian, Salazar warned that the impact of the current decline in the fortunes of the wider region is likely to be “bigger than the quick, sharp shock of 2009” with potentially long-lasting economic impacts.

“In Latin America,” he said, “the recovery was ‘V’ shaped. It was a very quick recovery. But that’s because the origin of the crisis was financial.

“This time it’s different.”

He said the main source of the crisis, for many countries of Latin America and the Caribbean “is the end of the commodity super-cycle” during which there had been between ten and 15 years of high commodity prices.”

The ensuing favourable conditions, Salazar added, helped support a number of new policies designed to cushion the impact of the fallout from the crash. “But, that’s finished now,” he said. In the wider region, the stark impact of a reversal of fortunes on labour markets was felt in 2015. According to the ILO overview document, the decline is expected to continue in 2016.

The overview says while there had been an average low of 6.2 per cent unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean, it was estimated that the statistic would climb to 6.7 per cent in 2015 which meant that as many as 1.7 million people region-wide would have joined the ranks of the unemployed, taking the combined figure to 19 million unemployed.

IMAGE: Claudia Coenjaerts and Jose Manuel Salazar. Photo: Wesley Gibbings

For more on this story go to: http://www.guardian.co.tt/business/2016-02-22/ilo-director-no-quick-recovery-caribbean-economies

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