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  • A woman holds a sign: "IMF is hunger" during a protest in Buenos Aires on Sept. 17, 2018.

    A woman holds a sign: "IMF is hunger" during a protest in Buenos Aires on Sept. 17, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 November 2018

More than 20,800 jobs were lost in the last two months, mainly due to factory shutdowns amid government austerity and sky-high inflation.

In Argentina, over 20,800 people were laid off during the months of September and October, that is seven times more than during the same time last year.

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A report by the Center for Argentine Political Economy (CEPA) showed that 20,872 people were laid off in the private sector during the past two months, compared with 3,087 layoffs over the Sept-Oct. timeframe last year. The layoffs were mainly in private industrial factories.  

"September felt the greatest impact from the (economic) crisis caused by the devalued (peso) and exchange rate instability,” said CEPA director, Hernan Letcher, when there were over 12,000 layoffs. He added that industrial production has fallen by 11.5 percent since 2017, which “had a direct impact on the labor market." One in seven dismissals was linked to factory closures.

The most affected private sector workers are those in the food and beverages production industries, textiles, electronics, and metallurgical sectors. Auto parts and assembly jobs at General Motors, FIAT, Renault and Volkswagen were also among the hardest hit. In the public sector, most layoffs happened in the arts and education sectors and in the electrical energy industry.

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Adhering to the austerity measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Mauricio Macri administration has cut employment in state-run companies by 27 percent over the past ten months in exchange for a US$56.3 billion IMF loan. During August his administration downsized at least five ministries, mainly those related to arts and education, to secretariats.

During August and September, the peso lost around 40 percent of its value in relations to the United States dollar and inflation surpassed 40 percent on some days, increasing poverty to over 25 percent among the Argentina adult population. Low income and middle-class Argentines are the hardest hit by the country’s economic instability and the government’s austerity policies. They have resorted to soup kitchens and trading for basic home goods through barter clubs in order to mitigate the effects of the crisis.

According to the study, this year 56,969 Argentines have been laid off, 15,825 in the public sector and 44,144 in the private sector. That is an average of 6,000 people per month.

On Monday President Macri signed a decree to provide a 5,000 pesos (US$244) bonus to private sector employees in order to stave off yet another national strike by the Argentine General Confederation of Labor (CGT).


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