Colombia’s urban unemployment rate, considered the main gauge to measure joblessness in the country, declined in October, a sign that the faster economic growth seen so far this year could be igniting job creation.
Colombia’s urban unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% in October from 12.4% 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 10.2%, down from 11.05% 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 decrease in the urban unemployment rate, based on a survey of 13 metropolitan areas, comes amid faster economic growth this year. The Colombian economy expanded 4.5% in the second quarter and the government estimates it could grow 5% for all of 2010 after a tepid 0.8% expansion in 2009.
Colombia’s unemployment rate is 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 Newswires)