Unemployment in Venezuela Drops to 7.2% in July

August 16, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- Unemployment in Venezuela dropped from 8.8% in July 2007 to 7.2% in July 2008, the National Statistics Institute (INE) announced Thursday.

According to an official statement by the INE, the number of employed people increased by 378,491 persons between July 2007 and July 2008, while the number of unemployed persons decreased by 193,425 during that time.

By James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis.com
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In this Caribbean nation of nearly 28 million people, 900,805 people are unemployed currently, while slightly fewer than 11.7 million are employed, according to the statistics released Thursday.

The percentage of workers who are in the formal sector rose by .7% to 57.5% over the past year, representing an increase of 287.220 formal sector workers. The remaining 42.5% work in informal jobs, such as street vending and businesses with fewer than 5 employees.

The INE report also shows that the percentage of men of working age who are active in the paid workforce has hovered around 79% so far this year, while the percentage of women of working age who are active in the paid workforce remains just above 50%.

2008 marks the fifth consecutive year that unemployment has decreased in Venezuela. INE President Elías Eljuri Abraham predicted that if the trend continues, unemployment will be 6% by the end of the year.

The unemployment rate when President Hugo Chávez began his first term in 1999 was 14.7%. Within two years it dropped to 12.8%, then spiked to 18.3% following a two-day coup in 2002 and subsequent oil industry shutdown aimed at ousting Chávez. Since then, the unemployment rate has steadily dropped each year.   

The percentage of workers who are in the formal sector of the economy has followed a similar pattern. After sinking to 47% following the coup and the strike, it has steadily grown each year to its present 57.5%.

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