2004 Labour Overview

The 2004 Labour Overview conveys a double message. On the one hand, it highlights the economic recovery of the majority of the countries in the region for the second consecutive year. On the other, it stresses that while this recovery has fostered labour progress in most of the countries of the region, progress has been moderate at best, with no significant reduction in the decent work deficit. Nevertheless, forecasts for 2005 are positive as long as favourable international economic conditions continue and the labour supply in the region does not expand excessively.

The estimated GDP growth rate for Latin America and the Caribbean is 5.0%, the highest recorded in the region since 1997, when the recession began and subsequently spread throughout the region until mid-2002. This growth rate is more than triple that of 2003 (1.5%) and has had a positive impact on employment in countries that experienced strong economic growth.

Regional economic growth was favoured by the international economic context, especially the unexpectedly dynamic growth of the economies of the United States, Japan and China. This has stimulated global demand for the region's products, thereby keeping prices high for Latin American primary and semi-manufactured exports. Moreover, domestic policies have helped reduce inflation, benefiting real wages and promoting an exchange policy that has contributed to strengthening the export sector.