Pardo said the Colombian economy – which included 2.3 million people unemployed, 14 million in the informal labour market and six million in formal employment – presented complex challenges for politicians.
“Politicians must target their policies towards all these populations,” he said. “Formalizing labor and defending workers rights are just as important as lowering unemployment by one per cent. We will make equality for women a top priority, because the two groups with the highest unemployment rates are young people and women.”
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said the unemployment rate of 9.7 per cent was still too high, and Pardo must strive to reduce it. He said, “It’s an enormous challenge, but job creation as a means of reducing poverty must be made a fundamental objective.”
The president said that the Liberal Party’s “First Job Law” – which rewards employers for hiring people who have never worked before – had contributed to a one per cent drop in unemployment.
On his decision to appoint his former rival as a cabinet minister, President Santos said, “I know what skill and professionalism he has, and for that reason I thought it would be better to have him with me than against me.”