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Ecuador: Latest Unemployment Figures

Categories: Latin America, Ecuador, Economics & Business, Labor

The National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC [1] in Spanish) released its quarterly report about unemployment in Ecuador. According to the figures, there were 418,706 unemployed Ecuadorians, which equals 9.1% of the 4.6 million Economically Active Population (EAP) in a country with a total population of 14 million. According to the report, unemployment in Ecuador went from 5.9% in 2008 to 6.5% in 2009 and 9.1% in the first trimester of the 2010. However, some economists and even casual observers believe that the number must be higher, in addition, to adding the number of Ecuadorians underemployed. Regardless of the exact number of Ecuadorians out of work, it is a serious problem that is of concern to the administration of President Rafael Correa.

Photo by amverdulla and used undera  Creative Commons license. [2]

Photo by amverdulla and used undera Creative Commons license.

In light of the analysis made by Carlos Felipe Jaramillo [es] [3], the World Bank Director for the Andean region, who said that this country has had a notable grow in the last three years because in 2007 its growth was around 2%, while in 2008 it rose significantly to 6.5%, but in 2009, due to the global crisis, the growth slowed. It was expected that the Ecuadorian economy was going to collapse, but that did not happen. However, INEC figures indicate that the impact of the economic downturn has had its share of negative effects.

Some are blaming the drought in some parts of the country for contributing to this unemployment, but others point to the heavy rains in other regions and the overproduction of grains like rice [4] that may have a particular effect on the rise of unemployment. The data taken by the INEC belongs to the provinces of Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Machala y Ambato.

INEC's report shows that women are unemployed at a rate of 11.6% rate while men reported 7.2%. What they do understand is they're paying more money for each case of milk, [5] storage silos of rice are collapsing and sugar leakage across borders means that local consumers do not get it at any price.

There are some explanations for employment problem in Ecuador. Byron Villacis, the INEC's director, is cited by Ecuador Imediato [es]. [6] He explains that unemployment is traditionally higher during the first quarter of each year due to the end of the school year in the Coastal region and is the result of strong winter Ecuador have endured, especially in towns of the Ecuadorian coast. The survey was taken in 127 urban Ecuadorian centers in the five provinces. It showed that:

El desempleo se redujo sustancialmente en ciudades como Machala donde bajó; del 10,9% registrado entre enero y marzo de 2009, a 8% en los mismos meses de 2010. Así mismo, en Guayaquil la cifra bajó; de 14% a 12,3%; en Cuenca, de 4,9% a 3,7%; y en Ambato, de 4,1% a 3,1%. Solo en Quito se muestra un leve incremento de 7% a 7,1%

Unemployment fell substantially in cities like Machala, where it fell from 10.9% recorded between January and March 2009, to 8% in the same months in 2010. Also, in Guayaquil, the figures dropped from 14% to 12.3%, in Cuenca, from 4.9% to 3.7% and in Ambato, from 4.1% to 3.1%. Only in Quito does it show a slight increase of 7% to 7.1%

Johan Sebastian [es] [7] from Guayaquil left a comment on a article of HOY newspaper, and blames Correa's government for the absence of any policies to reduce poverty. He writes, “They are busy on other issues that they neglect to establish effective incentives for businesses and promote exportation.”

The problem of unemployment is something that has been on the minds of Ecuadorians for quite some time. Looking back at a blog post from the city of Cuenca, Eugenio Stanculescu Moreno wrote in Democracia Verdadera [es] [8] in 2008 about his hopes that the government will take clear measures to fight unemployment:

Es bastante grave el ver que no se toman medidas claras para estos problemas que afectan a la población, estamos ya con una tasa de desempleo que ha presentado un margen de subida, esto es alarmante de escuchar, para un Ecuador al que se le prometió un cambio, para un país al que se le prometió una estabilidad y un nivel seguro de tasas de empleos, me pregunto entonces, ¿donde queda el cambio que todos queremos?, el Ecuador necesita un cambio, uno para mejor, no para peor, no necesitamos mas desempleo, no necesitamos mas pobreza, queremos gente educada, que pueda estudiar, gente que pueda trabajar y que pueda tener una vida tranquila y digna, no queremos regresar a lo mismo en que siempre las cosas quedan en la nada, y se vuelve a decepcionar al pueblo, que brindo con cariño la confianza, confianza que les brindo el poder a los gobernantes, con la cual decepcionan ahora nuevamente al país.

It is bad enough to see no measures are being taken for these problems that affect the people, we already have an unemployment rate that has been going up, this is alarming to hear, to an Ecuador that was promised change, to a country that was promised stability and a safe level of employment rates, I wonder then, where is the change we all want? Ecuador needs to make a change for the better, not to the worse, we don't need more unemployment, more poverty, we do need educated people who can study, people who can work and can have a peaceful and dignified life, we do not want to walk backwards where things remain the same, and people gets disappointed again, people that provided them with trust, trust that empowered the government, trustfulness with which the country now again is disappointed.