Friday, December 20, 2013

Mexican minimum wage in 2014 will be $5 dollars - a day

*Update - Dec. 20, 2014 - Mexican minimum wage in 2015 will be $4.68 USD daily*

Guadalajara -
On the first day of the new year the minimum wage in Mexico will rise 3.9%, to a national average of 65.53 pesos. At this morning's exchange rate of 12.95 pesos, that's approximately $5.06 USD per day.

Mexico is divided into two economic zones for minimum wage purposes, with workers in metropolitan zones where the cost of living is higher receiving a little more for their labor. In zone A, which includes Mexico City and Guadalajara, the new minimum will be 67.28 pesos on Jan. 1. In Zone B it will rise to 63.77 pesos.

Government cost of living studies show that at current prices, the minimum daily wage will purchase a half kilogram of chicken, a kilogram of eggs, one liter of milk and less than a kilogram of tortillas, the national staple. A kilogram is 2.2 U.S. pounds.

Mexico's secretary of labor, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, says that given the 3.86% inflation the country experienced in 2013, the increase in minimum wage will "provide only a minor boost to the effective purchasing power of workers." In the state of Jalisco more than half of the population earns less than needed to meet basic monthly food and household costs, despite the fact that it is home to the nation's second largest metropolis. Over 60% of Jaliscans earn less than subsistence income.

In related economic news, the Mexican Institute of Social Security reported this week that the nation generated almost a quarter million fewer jobs this year than it did in 2012. Sluggish labor market a victim of Mexico's economic backslide in 2013.

Mexico is in the midst of a severe economic slump, which some analysts have labeled a bona fide recession. The country's gross domestic product is expected to grow just over 1% this year, although at the beginning of 2013 the government predicted 4%. Wal-Mart sales in free fall a good barometer of a Mexican economy on the skids. By comparison, in the third quarter of this year the U.S. economy grew 4.1%, the Department of Commerce reported today.

About 60% of the Mexican labor force work in the so-called informal economy, in self-employment enterprises. Such workers enjoy no benefits, have no safety net and live on what they can earn from day to day sales and services. The new PRI administration is working hard to change that. Enrique Peña Nieto announces plans to get more workers on real payrolls.

A few days after he was elected last year, one commentator argued that Peña Nieto's top priorities during his six year presidency would be confronting Mexico's widespread poverty and creating jobs. Enrique Peña Nieto's biggest challenges will be economy and environment, not drug cartels.

Dec. 20, 2014 - The Mexican minimum wage in 2015 will be $4.68 USD daily. The lower dollar value is due to the peso's recent dramatic decline. U.S. dollar skyrockets against sliding Mexican peso.

Aug. 29 - Proposal for minimum wage increase finds impetus in Mexico's Federal District
Aug. 13 - Mexican economy remains stuck on a southbound train
May 20 - Huge salaries of Mexican Supreme Court judges far outstrip their judicial brethren
Mar. 25 - Mexican economy off to a shaky start in 2014, January data shows
Feb. 18 - Mexican economy continues to shed jobs
Jan. 5 - U.K. report: life is getting harder, not easier for Mexicans

Nov. 26 - Mexico's economic woes take a toll on Yucatán business
Oct. 12 - In a land where many are poor, Mexican millionaires are increasing by leaps and bounds
Aug. 24 - Mexican unemployment stats paint a bleak picture for the most well educated
Aug. 21 - Sluggish Mexican economy worries foreign investment experts
July 29 - 53.3 million - that's how many Mexicans live in poverty
May 23 - Mexican population is soaring, and most are young

Nov. 16 - Gross economic disparity still a hard fact of Mexican life
July 29 - Yucatán has well-educated labor force, but offers one of Mexico's worst job markets
Apr. 23 - AMLO: Economic inequality is the primary cause of Mexico's insecurity

Children of street vendors in Mérida, 2011. City authorities constantly try to expel such itinerant merchants from the main plazas, on the theory that they take business away from proprietors with fixed locations, who must pay rent, utilities and salaries. But the ambulantes have few other options. "Battle of the merchants" in Mérida likely to intensify with holiday season at hand; Guadalajara vs. los ambulantes is a familiar story. The boys' sign says, "We're artisans, not retailers."

© 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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