Where are the half a million new jobs reported by the DANE?

By August 2, 2017

Colombia’s unemployment rate continues to hover near record lows. The country’s National Statistic Administrative Department (DANE) reported last week that the national unemployment rate decreased by 0.7% in June from May, dropping to 8.7%. The employment report was also adjusted, revised to 262,000 new jobs in May and more than double that in June, with 552,000 new jobs created. A total of 22.8 million people were reported to have work in June.

This rise in the creation of jobs, though positive for Colombia, raised concern that perhaps the quality of these jobs was poor. Some academics, such as CESA’s José Roberto Acosta, asked that the DANE itemize by job types when reporting the data.

This concern is based on the DANE’s employment definition, which only requires people to work for one paid or unpaid hour a week, or to have worked shortly before the survey, even if they were now unemployed.  Mario Valencia, director of the Center for Work Studies (CEDETRABAJO) believes that unemployment numbers are therefore inflated.

The way that these numbers are presented should be changed”, Acosta added.

Acosta believes that more than half of the newly generated jobs were of poor quality, as statistics also show that more than 48% of Colombians fall into the categories of “sub-employment” or “informal employment”. Unpaid employees are considered in these statistics.

The 8.7% unemployment rate conflicts with another recent report that 13.6 million Colombians are out of work. However Colombia has a higher than average percentage of citizens that choose not to work or study, particularly among the female population.

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