Unemployment rate edges up in 2016 but under-employment rises sharply

Jan 17, 2017

Unemployment in Ecuador rose from 4.8% to 5.26% in 2016. More troubling, however, was the under-employment rate, which soared from 14% in December 2015 to 19.9% at the end of 2016. The Correa government maintains that the recession has bottomed out and that an economic recovery is underway.

Unemployed workers in Quito advertise their skills.

The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC), which compiles employment figures, reported that the “gross employment rate” rose from 62.6% to 63.8% of the total population over the past three months.

Reacting to the jobs report, three presidential candidates claim the statistics prove that Ecuador’s economy remains mired in recession. “The improvements that the government keeps promising do not exist and their own numbers provide the proof,” Democractic Left candidate Paco Moncayo said Tuesday in Loja. CREO candidate Guillermo Lasso agreed, again claiming that his policies will create more than a million new jobs.

According to the statistical institute, Quito has the highest unemployment rate in Ecuador among major cities at 9.1% while Cuenca has the lowest, at 4.8%. Guayaquil has the highest under-employment rate at 20.2% while Cuenca’s has the lowest with 11%.

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