Colombia’s unemployment continues to rise as many turn to informal jobs

Global Business

Colombia's unemployment continues to rise as many turn to informal jobs

Colombia’s unemployment rate for September is at 9.2 percent – higher than last year’s 8.5 percent . Informal street jobs – work without health, pension or any benefits, continues to be an option for many Colombians.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogota.

Government officials blame the jobless rate increase on a major drop in employment 13 major cities. With the unemployment rate increase in September, more people are expected to enter the workforce.

After Colombia and FARC rebels signed a peace deal in 2016, 7,000 former FARC combatants are now looking for jobs.

But one analyst said the number of former combatants entering the workforce is small and won’t cause any disruption in the unemployment rates.

The biggest challenge the Colombian government faces, is diversifying its economy.

“The main problem with unemployment is that the industry and agricultural sectors are not growing and those are the sectors that create more sustainable jobs. What is growing are the informal jobs, as Colombians do anything to work and sell anything like gum” Enrique Daza said.

According to National Statistics, from June to August of 2017, almost half of the working population in 23 of the nation’s major cities have informal jobs- meaning they work independently and have no benefits. That is the equivalent to over 5 million Colombians.

Independent vendors working on the streets can be problematic.

“They say that we encourage vandalism. So if the police come in trucks, we need to run so that they don’t take our stand,” one street vendor, Leonel Sanchez, said.

Meanwhile, for many Colombians throughout the country, the daily struggle continues to put food on the table.