Colombia’s urban-unemployment rate declined modestly in January from a year ago, the government said Monday, as stronger economic growth over the past year helped increase the number of jobs available.
The urban-unemployment rate, which focuses on about a dozen of the largest cities and is traditionally the main measurement of joblessness in the country, dipped to 14.7% last month from 15.3% in January 2010, according to a report from the national statistics institute, known as DANE.
The lower jobless rates come as Colombia’s economy, which grew a tepid 0.8% in 2009, likely expanded around 4% last year.
Despite the modest decline in the unemployment figure, analysts remain concerned that torrential rains during the final half of 2010, which washed away bridges and highways and damaged farmland, may have begun to stunt economic growth and has led to the elimination of some jobs.
On a nationwide level, which economists say produces a less exact indicator of the job market, the jobless rate declined to 13.5% from 14.6% in January 2010.
Despite a boom in the country’s oil and coal sectors in recent years, Colombia has continued to struggle with a stubbornly high unemployment rate. President Juan Manuel Santos last week said he was refocusing his efforts on job creation now that the lashing rains and floods have subsided somewhat.