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As Argentina’s Crisis Grows, So Does Employment Stagnation

The significant decline of the country's construction sector is a key factor.

By | [email protected] | September 11, 2018 12:35pm

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In the midst of Argentina’s growing crisis and general economic turbulence, the projected stagnation in the country’s labor market for the end of the year has increased accordingly. Although overall labor growth remains in positive territory, the net employment generation expectations for the fourth quarter of 2018 are the worst on record since the same period in 2007.

In July, the Labor Indicators Survey (EIL) conducted by the government projected a positive job growth of 1.6 percent— a worrisomely low figure—during the final quarter of 2018, a metric estimated after surveying 3,000 companies. 

Numbers calculated by private companies, however, have generally shown themselves to be more optimistic. This was the case with the American ManpowerGroup, a Fortune 500 specialized consultancy corporation. The multinational corporation conducted a survey among 800 employers across Argentina, posing the question: “What changes do you expect to see in the level of employment in your workplace during the fourth quarter of 2018, in comparison with the current quarter?”

In response to the question, 79 percent of employers consulted responded that there would be no changes in employment. Meanwhile, 9 percent projected an increase in expected in employment for the final quarter of 2018, while 8 percent of employers predicted a decrease. After adjusting the results for seasonality and a few other factors, the consultancy projected an average positive employment growth of 2 percent for the final three months of the year.

While overall positive, the employment growth in itself is still much lower than it has been in the past. The figure estimated by the multinational consultancy represents a decrease of three percentage points with respect to the previous quarter. Since last year, meanwhile, the 2 percent growth points to a total accumulated drop of six percentage points.

In fact, while before 2007 employment growth expectations sometimes jumped as high as 30 percent in Argentina, since 2014, they have yet to exceed 10 percent.

“Since that period, we have only seen very moderate sums to employment growth,” Fernando Podestá, the National Director the ManpowerGroup’s Argentina branch, told La Nación.  “It’s good that the growth continues to be positive, but expectations are still showing themselves to be hyper-moderate. Recently, there is a significant stagnation among companies when it comes time to hire.”

According to the company, a significant stagnation of new jobs within the construction sector is a central factor in Argentina’s recent hyper-moderate employment growth. While in the past employment growth in the construction sector was key in propelling Argentina’s economic recovery, ManpowerGroup estimated a staggering negative decline of 11 percent in the sector’s employment.

Meanwhile, according to the specialized consultancy, the most promising employment growth opportunities in Argentina can currently be found in the Mining sector, with special emphasis on fuel and the ongoing Vaca Muerta project.