(dpa) – Some 26 million jobs have been lost in Latin America and the Caribbean due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said Thursday.
New waves of infection and slow-moving vaccination campaigns are now creating uncertain prospects for recovery, the ILO added.
The average employment rate in the region of some 650 million people has fallen from 57.4 per cent to 51.7 per cent from the outbreak of the pandemic until the end of last year.
The unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean rose year-on-year from 8.3 to 10.6 per cent.
The ILO also noted that due to an unprecedented exit from the workforce in 2020, unemployment figures do not give the full picture.
There could be a significant increase in the unemployment rate in 2021 if millions of people who left the workforce seek to rejoin it, ILO expert Roxana Maurizio said.
The Americas and especially South America are currently experiencing worryingly high numbers of coronavirus infections, according to the director of the Pan-American Health Organization (Paho), Carissa Etienne.
More than half of the pandemic deaths reported worldwide last week occurred in the Americas, she said on Wednesday.
The United States, Brazil and Mexico are the three countries with the most registered coronavirus-related deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic.