Unemployment in the country remains stable, with a slight decrease of 0.1% compared to May 2022.
According to preliminary information from the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), unemployment in Colombia for May of this year was 10.5%, compared to 10.7% in April. This means that there were a total of 2.6 million people without work. The annual decrease in the unemployment rate is a modest 0.1%.
Gender gap remains
The traditional gender gap in the country has not substantially changed, as there continues to be a noticeable difference between men and women who are unemployed. While male unemployment in May was 8.4%, the unemployment rate for women reached 13.2%, resulting in a gender gap of 4.9%.
In addition to this reality, the situation worsens for women as there is also a gender wage gap, with jobs performed by men being significantly better paid than the same jobs performed by women.
The most significant differences are found among women with low educational levels, those in rural areas, widows, and those between the ages of 45 and 54.
Trade and manufacturing as the main occupations
The number of people employed in May reached 22.5 million Colombians. The trade sector accounts for 18.3% of the total, with an increase of 356,000 jobs compared to May 2022.
The manufacturing industry represents 10.7%, with an annual job creation of an additional 213,000 positions. Accommodation and food services follow, with a growth of 136,000 jobs in the past twelve months.
The overall labor force participation rate, which is the ratio of the employed population to the working-age population, was 63.9% in May of this year, also increasing by 0.1% compared to twelve months ago.
The level of informality among employed individuals remains very high. 55.7% of those with jobs work in the informal sector. In rural areas, this figure reaches 84.6% of the employed population.
These data pose a significant problem for the government, as these activities do not translate into tax payments or contribute to financing public policies.
Data prior to decisions by the Central Bank
This information will influence the upcoming decisions of the country’s central bank regarding future monetary policy. The increase in interest rates by the Central Bank of Colombia, aimed at curbing inflation and maintaining the value of the peso, may experience a slowdown after a year of constant increases.
The last revision was in early May, when it was set at the current rate of 13.25%. Since then, a sustained appreciation of the Colombian currency, along with a slight slowdown in the consumer price index (CPI), could indicate a change in strategy and a halt to the rate hike.