Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mexican unemployment stats paint a bleak picture for the most well educated

Guadalajara -
This week Mexico's internal revenue agency reported that the stagnant national economy is just barely sputtering along. In the first six months of 2013 growth averaged 1.25%, less than a third of the economic expansion posted in 2012 (and what government officials predicted for the current year only seven months ago, in January).

The administration claims the forecast looks brighter for the rest of the year, but investors, especially foreign ones, are troubled. Sluggish Mexican economy worries foreign investment experts.

On paper the unemployment numbers look better in Mexico than they do in the U.S. The July stats show 5.12% were officially out of work, up slightly from 5.02% in the same month a year ago. But that's only the beginning of the labor story.

Mexico's National Institute of Statistics (INEGI), an independent, non-partisan body, reported that last month another 8.6% of the active labor force were underemployed, and desperate for more hours to make ends meet. Un- and underemployed workers in the aggregate are thus more on the order of 14%. And even that number doesn't tell all.

Those with the highest level of education are the least likely to find work, or work commensurate with their education and training. Over 76% of the unemployed hold university degrees, while 24% without work have just a high school diploma.

That disparity shows what types of jobs are available, of course, and who is most likely to get them. It's no surprise that tens of thousands of professionally educated young Mexicans find themselves competing for jobs waiting tables, bar tending, working as coffee baristas or driving taxis. Others, lured into college programs which promote "bachelor's degrees" in tourism, or teaching rudimentary English in the ubiquitous private language schools, find those fields drastically over populated as well.

The nine month old PRI administration has no ready answers for any of them. Meanwhile, everybody wants to go to school, and private and public institutions are packed as the new school year begins.

Mexican youth are well prepared, but few employers are looking for them. Yucatán has well-educated labor force, but offers one of Mexico's worst job markets.

Dec. 7 - Sluggish labor market a victim of Mexico's economic backslide in 2013
July 14 - Over 60% of Jaliscans earn less than subsistence income

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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