Colombia’s urban unemployment rate, considered the main gauge to measure joblessness in the country, rose in July, a sign that the faster economic growth seen so far this year is failing to ignite job creation.
Colombia’s urban unemployment rate rose to 13.3% in July from 12.8% in the same month a year earlier, the national statistics institute, known as DANE, said Tuesday. In a nationwide survey, which economists say produces a less exact indicator of the job market, unemployment stood at 12.6%, the same level as a year earlier.
Colombia’s stubbornly high unemployment rate represents one of the top economic challenges for President Juan Manuel Santos, who has pledged to create 2.5 million jobs in the next five years by easing labor laws and making it cheaper for small companies to hire workers that are starting their first jobs.
The increase in the urban unemployment rate, based on a survey of 13 metropolitan areas, comes despite faster economic growth. The Colombian economy expanded 4.4% in the first quarter of the year and the government estimates that it could climb 4.5% for all of 2010.
The DANE said that 2.7 million Colombians are currently without a job. Colombia’s unemployment rate is considered one of the highest in Latin America.
The Santos administration is engaging in an ambitious economic reform package, which will need the approval of Congress, in a bid to boost economic growth and job creation. (Darcy Crowe / Dow Jones)