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Costa Rica
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Costa Rica unemployment rate remains among world’s highest

Unemployment in Costa Rica fell to 18.5% in the moving quarter from December to February, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Inec). Per World Bank data, that figure would place Costa Rica among the nations with the highest unemployment rates.

Compared to the same quarter of last year, unemployment in Costa Rica has increased by 6.3 percentage points. Women have a higher unemployment rate than men — 25.0% and 14.1%, respectively.

INEC estimates the employed population at 1.99 million people, which represents a statistically significant reduction of 235,000 people compared to the same time last year.

“The internal composition of the labor force shows a decrease in the employed population and an increase in unemployed people,” INEC says.

Meanwhile, the INEC calculated the underemployment rate — the percentage of employed people who work fewer than 40 hours a week and want to work more hours — at 17.1%, a 5.3 p.p. year-over-year increase.

Unemployment in Costa Rica had reached 12% in March 2020, already one of the highest levels recorded in the country until then, but it soared to 24% due to the impact of the pandemic in the moving quarter from May to July 2020.

Since then, the unemployment rate has experienced a slow decline as the economy has reopened.

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