Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Moving forward 

Following yesterdays news about the Venezuela’s strong economic growth continuing into 2005 today there was good news on the employment front.

According to the National Institute of Statistics the Venezuelan unemployment rate fell to 12.1% in April 2005 from 16.3% a year earlier in April 2004. This represents a decrease in the unemployment rate of 4.2%.

In December 2001 the unemployment rate, which had been going down, reached 11%. However, a strike in December 2001 and then the coup of April 11, 2002 started to increase the unemployment rate. Then with the strike/oil sabotage of December 2002 the unemployment rate shot up to over 20%. It is from that peak of over 20% that the unemployment rate has now declined to 12%.

A large segment of the Venezuelan workforce is in the “informal” sector that is composed of people such as street vendors. After the December 2002 strike the percentage of the workforce in the informal sector rose to 53%. However, with the strong growth last year and early this year the percentage of workers in the informal sector has been reduced to 47.1%.

Clearly, there is a long ways to go and much to be done. But given the tremendous obstacles the Venezuelan economy has faced over the past several years these numbers are to be both welcomed and applauded.


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