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The pandemic reversed the progress made by Mexico to formalize the economy, so policies to address the informality problem, without it will not improve the job quality, warned Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Although informal jobs were the most affected in the first months of the health emergency by covid-19, this line has already returned to the levels reported before the pandemic. According to data from the National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE), the rate of labor informality in Mexico it is 55.6% and covers 31.4 million people.

“Mexico was struggling to formalize the informal activities. Mexico had made progress on this issue, unfortunately with the crisis this progress has been reversed. This is an issue that Mexico must continue to prioritize; the quality of employment has to do with the formalization of employment, that is important”, said Guy Ryder.

in conversation with The Economist, the ILO director general also stressed that Mexico must take advantage of the situation in which “international value chains are being remade” to position its industries thanks to its proximity to the United States and, as a result, lay the foundations to offer jobs best quality in the country.

He acknowledged that two years into the pandemic, it has been shown that the social recovery from the crisis caused by Covid-19 “is much slower, incomplete, unequal and fragile” than previously thought, which requires an active dialogue between the government , unions and employers to identify solutions together.

“The labour reform plays an important role in this because it opens the door to the process of social dialogue, to agreement between the government, unions and employer organizations, which in the world is something that has proven to be of great value in identifying agreed solutions for the great challenges that this crisis has posed. I believe that all these categories deserve to be studied by the Mexican authorities and social actors”, he pointed out.

long term repercussions

Some of the “potentially lasting” damage that the pandemic has left, she explained, have to do with the reduction in the labor participation of women, the gaps that the interruption of their professional training will leave in young people due to the closure of educational centers, the growth of labor inactivity and the widening of inequality gaps, among others.

“We lived in a very unequal world before the crisis. The crisis has revealed these inequalities and unfortunately it has made them even sharper. So inactivity in the world of work, lack of insertion points and inequality and exclusion” are part of the problems that the crisis caused by the pandemic has potentiated, he said.

The agency presented this Monday the report PWorld Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2022, in which he estimates that due to the impact of the new variants of SARS-CoV-2, such as Delta and Ómicron, instability in the labor market will continue in the medium term, with the loss of the equivalent of 52 million jobs full time this year.

According to Guy Ryder, this “shows that we are not yet out of this crisis, that we have not come out of the crisis. This figure is much higher than the figure that we had published in June of last year, which was 26 million jobs, which implies that there are problems, and that this pandemic is causing a situation that is worrying.

The document highlights that the pandemic has begun to cause structural economic changes that could take hold and leave permanent consequences for the job market. Some of these problems are the reduction of working hours, the growth of temporary jobs and the technological transformation that will allow companies to save labor.

“The pandemic is exacerbating various forms of inequality, from the intensification of gender inequalities to the widening of the digital divide. Changes in the composition of employment relationships – such as the reliance on informal self-employment for a living, the rise of telecommuting and various trends in temporary work – could deteriorate the quality of working conditions ”, is specified in the document.

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