It is evident that there is a tendency toward increased unemployment in the country, said the institute in its statement.
 /  A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo.

-  Published: Friday, February 7, 2020 -

Unemployment increases by more than 300,000 people

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The National Statistics Institute announced Thursday that the national unemployment rate in the last quarter of 2019 increased to 12.4%. This represents an increase of 1% over the previous quarter from July to September.

This represents 309,000 unemployed people in the country,  of whom 9.6% is the rate of unemployed men,  and 16.7% is the rate of unemployed women.

There was a significant increase of 21,000 more unemployed women in the last quarter of 2019.

The employment rate was calculated at 62.9%, meaning approximately 2.49 million people had work. Of that, men working represented 74.9% of the male population, and 50.8% of women worked, said the institute.

According to the institute, there is 24.7% of the population that was not register in the unemployment category because they belong to what is called the informal employment category.

Informal employment includes any activity of those who work and generate some income outside the formal work as defined by the Labor Code. Informal employment includes street vendors, gardeners, and domestic service workers, among others.

During 2019, the unemployment rate changed from 11.3% to 12.4% at the end of the year.

The annual averages in 2017 was 9.1%. The rate rose to 10.3% in 2018. It is evident that there is a tendency toward increased unemployment in the country, said the institute in its statement.

Women are the ones who have been more affected by the lack of job. The average annual rates of the last three years were 11.6% in 2017, 13.2% in 2018 and 15.3% in 2019.

The next unemployment report would be published by the institute in April with data collected from January to March.

The government is expected to publish its plan for job creation today.

In September the government presented the National Employment Strategy to generate more jobs.

According to the government, the strategy goal is to restore confidence and optimism to citizens and the business sector.

While presenting the strategy, President Carlos Alvarado said that his "government has absolute clarity that the most important national challenge is for Costa Rica to generate more jobs."

The plan consists of a diagnosis of the current socio-economic situation and the production of a series of actions to create more jobs.

According to the government, the strategy establishes an investment of $9.5 billion during 2019-2022 for infrastructure, education, airports, hospitals, and security, among others.

Among the main goals included in this strategy are:

- Sixty-eight percent of the total budget will be invested in infrastructure (i.e. roads, or bridges).

- 29 percent will be invested in public services like health care, energy, water, education and housing projects.

- The government will present Congress with a bill authorizing the Ministry of Education to build schools on land not titled in the ministry's name.

- The government will also create a decree to accelerate the process of public investment.

- The strategy also includes the recently passed Law on Strengthening Competition Authorities, which seeks to create better conditions for competition among companies.

- A credit line was to be created for small businesses.

- Also included as part of the strategy, is the Only Essential tourism campaign designed to attract more tourists from the United States and Canada.

In June 2019, Alvarado announced more than 3,000 jobs would be created while the government simplifies procedures for companies.

The president signed a decree that creates the National Employment System as a public organization that will coordinate employment services to generate new jobs for people who are in a more vulnerable condition.

The system will be headed by a council made up of government representatives, workers, and private companies to support people looking for a job by creating a database of candidates, providing training, and by being the intermediary before and after hiring.

"Today I commit myself to do everything in my capability to generate employment opportunities for Costa Ricans. I know that we can do this," said Alvarado at the time.

What should authorities do to reduce unemployment? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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