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Panama Unemployment at 40 year low, But Still Lacks Skilled Workers

Article Summary:

Panama is experiencing its lowest unemployment levels in 40 years however there is a serious lack of skilled workers. Government public works projects, as well as private construction firms, face the increasing difficulty of find and maintaining skilled workers to complete their projects.

Original Article Text From Revista Summa:

Panama increases jobs, but lack quality

Some 31,535 people left to be unemployed in Panama, which the unemployment rate stood at 4.5%, according to authorities, the lowest since 1966, when it was 5.1%. This means that currently there are 1.5 million employed in the country, according to the Comptroller General of the Republic.

The situation looked like so that the President, Ricardo Martinelli, who was visiting Costa Rica, said yesterday the international press that “there is a shortage of workers for the construction of infrastructure ‘. He stressed that start running a large number of governmental and private works that are putting enormous pressure on the labor market. “In Panama there are many professions that are not available ‘.

However, Panamanian consultants agreed that although the country has increased the number of jobs down the Unemployed Index, which is to be needed is the quality in them, and condemned the existence of a large number of persons employed in places informal work, social security.

‘The number of jobs there is always good, what is lacking is the quality of employment, because a high percentage of people in the informal sector or under suboptimal conditions in terms of income and social network coverage’, said Philip Chapman, a partner at consulting firm Indesa.

Chapman’s remarks recall that in Panama on time 41.1% of workers are in informal employment, with some 483,249 people. This, not including fixed salary or occupied without social protection of agricultural, livestock and fishing.
In this respect, the former Minister Domingo Latorraca noted that “the challenge is that not only have more people working, but people are employed in better jobs and quality of employment there, which results in more pay ‘.

According to figures from the Comptroller General of the Republic, the average wage in Panama is U.S. $ 465 per month, while the basic food basket for families having an average value of $ 292 per month.

Along with this, 52.6% of workers in the country are earning wages that are below $ 599 per month and, in turn, are facing a constant rising of the major family expenses such as food, transportation and toiletries.

With these figures, the economist Ricardo Gonzalez recalled that before entering into full employment in Panama, the priority for the coming years is’ out of the informal workers who are there. ”
This challenge saw Chapman economist as a matter of state policy, which could even take several administrations to focus on improving the skills of workers who are in the country.

As this occurs, the economically active population or people who are able to work in the country increased between August 2010 and 2011 – in 13 727 individuals, standing at 1.57 million people.29,499 would be 40,421 men and women without work.

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From Revisa Summa via Google Translate

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