Two years after the impact of the pandemic in Mexico, photography is different for employment: the working market already recovered the lost positions, but the workers are in most adverse conditions. As jobs increased and more people joined the employed population, the informal labor force also increased, with low wages and without access to health institutions.
At the end of 2021, the employed population increased by 1.1 million people compared to March 2020, the period prior to the effects of the pandemic on the labor market, according to what was reported by the National Survey of Occupation and Employment (ENOE).
However, despite the recovery in employment, subordinate and paid work has a deficit of 59,566 jobs. Meanwhile, other conditions, such as I work on my own accord and the Unpaid work they have concentrated the gains, encompassing one million and 242,642 more people than before the impact of the pandemic, respectively.
But this is not the only sign of a recovery with poor quality jobs. Informality has 1.1 million additional jobs to those reported in the pre-pandemic period. Meanwhile, the formality barely managed to report a level higher than that registered before the health emergency by 68,446 additional places.
The informal workers were the most affected by unemployment. But it is also the type of employment with a more progressive recovery, says the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) in its labor market monitor. In December 2021, the informality rate was 56.5%, which implies a level of 4.8 percentage points above that observed in March 2020.
“In informality there are no benefits, therefore, this affects the Mexican family income and their expectations, because they are jobs with a higher risk of being lost in the face of any event that may happen, such as the pandemic,” said Gabriela Siller, director of Economic and Financial Analysis at Banco Base.
On the other hand, in almost two years the employed population without access to health institutions increased by 669,381 people.
Meanwhile, the lower salary profiles they have garnered the biggest gains as the top-earning working population shrinks. In short, the population that earns up to two minimum wages reached a universe of 33.9 million people, 1.5 million more people than before the crisis.
Despite the fact that this phenomenon is largely due to the historical increases in minimum salary, Nor can we lose sight of the fact that throughout 2021 part of the recovery occurred at lower salary levels, Gabriela Siller pointed out.
The Persistent Job Gap
The job gap, which includes the unemployed, the underemployed and the inactive but available, stood at a level of 23 percent. This indicator reflects the broadest measure of the need for employment in the country and is still high, largely because underemployment and the inactive population remain high.
According to the IMCO, this indicator remains 3.4 percentage points higher than what was observed before the health emergency. “Despite the gradual reincorporation of people into the EAP, the proportion of available and underemployed continues to exceed the levels recorded before the crisis,” the organization maintains in its analysis.
“We cannot say that it is the same market that existed before the coronavirus crisis, it is a most vulnerable market”, underlined Gabriela Siller.
From the perspective of the specialist, the recovery of the Work market has shown a trend towards informality and low incomes. In addition to this, the fact that underemployment, which includes people who work short hours, remains high indicates that many people need to work more hours because they cannot cover their needs with their current job.