Latin America bracing for 3 million new unemployed

Latin America bracing for 3 million new unemployedSantiago  - The ongoing world economic crisis could cause another 3 million people to lose their jobs in Latin America's urban areas alone, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said Friday.

It could also add another 10 to 15 million people to the poverty rolls, which already include 190 million people across Latin America.

The problem is projected to persist until late 2010, an ECLAC official, Jurgen Weller, told German Press Agency dpa.

Mexico, Colombia and Chile are expected to suffer the most. In these countries, unemployment grew by 1-2 percentage points in the first two months of 2009, compared to the same period of 2008.

Peru is also expected to see an increase in unemployment, although it remains the most dynamic economy in Latin America, Weller noted.

On the other hand, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela have stable employment frameworks and the latter two may even see a rise in employment, he said.

After years of employment gains, Latin America unemployment was estimated to have dropped to 16.1 million people in 2008. That figure could grow to 19.3 million in 2009, if the unemployment rate rises from 7.5 per cent to 9 per cent, as ECLAC anticipates.

In rural areas, a further 60 million are unemployed. Those numbers are more difficult to identify, since rural statistics are scarce, Weller said. (dpa)

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