Unemployment in Costa Rica was 16.4% in the moving quarter from June to August 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 6.8 percentage points. The unemployment rate has remained relatively consistent throughout 2021, though it’s 1 percentage point lower than the previous moving quarter.
Women continue to have a higher unemployment rate than men — 21.9% and 12.8%, 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, 401,000 (99.9%) had some work incidence due to the pandemic, of these, 46.7% are men and 53.3% are women,” the report reads.
“Of the total number of unemployed people who were affected, 93.1% indicated that they cannot find work due to Covid-19; and 6.9% stated that they were fired, suspended or their business closed.”
About 917,000 people have informal employment, representing 120,000 more people in this situation compared to last year. About 45% 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 13.8%, a decrease of 12.4 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 a 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 had oscillated between 17% and 19% in 2021 before the drop to 16.4% in the latest period.