Colombia’s unemployment rate hit 14.6% in January, its highest level for that month since 2004, according to new figures from statistics agency DANE.
In the first month of this year unemployment in Colombia stood at 14.6% – approximately 3,128,000 people – compared to the 14.2% recorded in January last year, which is an increase of 298,000 individuals. This is its highest level since 2004’s January unemployment rate of 17%.
Of the thirteen Colombian cities measured in the study, the western cities of Pereira and Popayan were found to have the highest rates of unemployment, at 20.6% and 20.1% respectively.
The coastal city of Barranquilla had the lowest rate, with 9% of its population registered as unemployed.
An analyst from the Universidad de los Andes, Fabio Sanchez, said “This is not the result of economic deceleration, not of the financial crisis. Unemployment in Colombia has deep and fairly well understood structural roots,” reports Dinero.com.
He added, “The fact of having Latin America’s highest minimum wage relative to its GDP per capita, and the fact that labor costs are also the highest in Latin America, result in a situation where it is impossible to create formal employment.”
Dane’s study also showed, however, that employment rates have increased from 50.3% to 53% in the same year-long period, which it attributes to the fact that since January 2009, 1,213,000 jobs have been created in the country.