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  • Chile is among the four countries in Latin America with major COVID-19 outbreaks alongside Brazil México and Perú. 

    Chile is among the four countries in Latin America with major COVID-19 outbreaks alongside Brazil México and Perú.  | Photo: EFE/ Alberto Valdéz

Published 31 July 2020
Opinion

The latest figures show that all regions registered an increase in unemployment and the rate is higher for men than women.

Chile reached the highest overall unemployment rate in a decade amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 12.2 percent, the National Statistics Office (INE) revealed on Friday.

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According to the institution during the second quarter of this year, from April to June, the number of unemployed people soared to 996.900, an increment of 299.100 compared to the same period in 2019.

"The national unemployment rate was 12.2 percent (7.3 percent a year ago), but the fragility of the labor market goes beyond what this figure says, due to the workers who are outside the labor market in transitory form due to the effects of the pandemic," explained the Minister of Economy Lucas Palacios via Twitter.

The latest figures show that all regions registered an increase in unemployment. However, the region of Coquimbo is the worse affected by the crisis as the rate ascended to 14.7 percent in the second quarter of 2020, followed by Valparaíso, O'Higgins, and the Metropolitan Region.

Nevertheless, the survey results do not include the 801,800 people who accepted the so-called Employment Protection Law enacted in March, which allows employers to suspend contracts and reduce wages amid the COVI-19 pandemic.

"NOW: INE reports that the national unemployment rate during the April-June 2020 quarter was 12.2%, increasing 4.9 percentage points (pp.) Compared to the same period of the previous year. All the details in the statistical bulletin."

The report highlights that the decrease in employment impacted profoundly the sectors of commerce, which recorded 24.0 percent fewer workers, construction 30.6 percent, and accommodation and food service 48.5 percent. Also, according to the occupational category, self-employed workers and informal employees have been the most affected.

Furthermore, the unemployment rate is higher for men than women, 12.6 percent, and 11.7 percent, respectively.

After a hard-fought battle to modify the pension system in Chile, the Congress approved last week a new law that allows citizens to withdraw up to 10 percent of their contributions for the next year as a way to sort out the crisis temporarily.

Today Chile's Superintendent of Pensions said via a statement that 3.024.347 people had asked to withdraw their share so far. Chile is among the four countries in Latin America with major COVID-19 outbreaks alongside Brazil México and Perú. 

On June 17, the country's Central Bank forecasted the worst fall of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 35 years, although it said that maybe the economy would show the first signs of recovery by the second half of 2020.

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