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Mexico: Quality Jobs Wanted

October 29, 2012

World Bank

  • Jobs are fundamental for development, the World Development Report 2013 stresses
  • There were 20 million Mexicans more that were old enough to work in 2010 than in 1990, a case study on Mexico shows
  • Large gaps exist as regards conditions of formal and informal jobs

The possibility that a 14 to 24-year-old Mexican is unemployed is three times higher than for someone who is between 35 and 45 years old, according to an analysis of the Mexican labor market, produced in the context of the World Development report 2013.

This is happening in a country that in 20 years has seen an unprecedented growth in its labor force. The authors of the Mexican case study calculate that there were 20 million more Mexicans that were old enough to work in 2010 than in 1990.

In the World Development Report, on the other hand, it is stressed that the benefits of jobs are more than simple earnings. “Not only do they give economic benefits, but also social benefits important for development,” says Samuel Freije-Rodriguez, World Bank economist and co-author of the report.

For this reason, stable and well-paid jobs are fundamental for countries that want to consolidate their development, especially in the current global crisis. “Jobs are the best insurance against poverty and vulnerability,” says Kaushik Basu, World Bank Chief Economist and Sr. Vice President.

It is estimated in the report that there are more than 3 billion people that have an employment, but almost half of them have jobs with low salaries, with little guarantees of stability and scarce social protection mechanisms.

" Jobs are the best insurance against poverty and vulnerability "

Kaushik Basu

World Bank Chief Economist and Sr. Vice President

The job analysis in Mexico shows that there are big differences between the conditions in which jobs are practiced in the formal and the informal economy.

Close to 95% of the people in big companies is insured, while in small companies they are only 7%, explains the study.

During more than two decades, only about 40% of Mexican men and 50% of women had a permanent contract. The indigenous people have informal jobs in more than 90% of the cases, according to the study.

The possibilities of having access to a quality job also vary according to age, between people with different education levels or between men and women, the study highlights.

The unemployment rate in Mexico went to around 5% after the 2008 crisis, a number that experts consider relatively low comparing to other countries in the world.

However, the study underlines that there is a significant number of “availables”, which means that they don’t have jobs but weren’t looking for one when they were interviewed. Counting these, the percentage of people without occupation is larger.

The study about jobs in Mexico, produced in the context of the World Development Report was financed by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and coordinated by the Inter-American Conference on Social Security (ICSS).