Unemployment in Costa Rica was 17.4% in the moving quarter from May to July 2021, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC).
Compared to the same quarter of last year, unemployment in Costa Rica has decreased by 7.0 percentage points. However, the unemployment rate has remained relatively consistent throughout 2021.
Women continue to have a higher unemployment rate than men — 23.9% and 13.2%, respectively.
Of the unemployed population, virtually all reported losing their job or struggling to find work due to causes related to the pandemic, INEC says.
“Of the total number of unemployed people who were affected, 93.4% indicated that they cannot find work due to COVID-19, and 6.6% stated that they were fired, suspended or closed their business or activity,” the report reads.
About 875,000 people have informal employment, representing 138,000 more people in this situation compared to last year. About 44% of all employed people have jobs classified as informal.
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 15.5%, a decrease of 9 percentage points compared to last year.
Costa Rica’s unemployment rate at the beginning of 2018 was about 9% but rose to 12% by early 2020, related to the tax reform, strikes and weather events, INEC said. The May-July 2020 quarter represented Costa Rica’s highest-ever unemployment rate (24.4%), corresponding to strict Covid-19 measures.
Costa Rica’s unemployment rate has oscillated between 17% and 19% in 2021.