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Unemployment in Costa Rica at 23.2% as pandemic effects continue

October 8, 2020

Unemployment in Costa Rica reached 23.2% in the June-August quarter, slightly lower than the previous period but still severely affected by the COVID-19 containment measures, the official statistical agency reported Thursday.

“These months reflect the state of affectation in the labor market indicators due to the confinement and movement restriction measures taken in the country in order to contain the pandemic,” the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) said in a statement.

In the immediately preceding quarter, from May to July, the unemployment rate was 24.4%, the highest ever registered in Costa Rica.

Compared with the quarter from June to August 2019, the rate grew 11.8 percentage points, the INEC said.

The agency specified that women are the most affected by unemployment — 29.1% in that sector — while among men the unemployment rate is 19.3%.

The figures also indicate 26.2% underemployment — that is, when people work less than 40 hours a week and want to work more.

The pandemic has hit the Costa Rican economy hard. The country projects a 3.6% contraction of its GDP and a fiscal deficit of 9.7% of GDP.

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