“Of course we can feel the weight of our economy”

The March 2012 report on key workforce economic indicators has been published this week by La Universidad de Chile. The Encuesta de Ocupación y Desocupación en el Gran Santiago (Survey of Employment and Unemployment in Greater Santiago) has outlined key trends in employment and pay since 1957 using the same standardised questionnaires and methodology. Currently, the Greater Santiago area is comprised of 34 districts, with an approximate population of 6 million. The results reported are based on over two and a half thousand households including around 9ooo participants. The main findings are that although the rate of unemployment is essentially unchanged from last year’s figures (8.7%) it is up from the last report of December 2011 (6.2%). Furthermore there is a worrying trend of inequality in that the  lowest paid workers saw a drop in average earnings, whereas the highest 10% enjoyed a 12.5% increase. The report stated that:

“La distribución de ingresos laborales totales se ha mantenido altamente desigual en los últimos 2 años, lo que queda en evidencia al considerar la razón entre el ingreso promedio del percentil 90 y aquel del percentil 10, que en Febrero de 2012 fue de 6,4 veces.”
“The total labour income has remained highly unevenly distributed over the last 2 years, which is evident when considering the ratio between  the average incomes in the 90th and 10th percentiles, which in February 2012 was 6.4.”

In addition, there is still a gap between the sexes in terms of hourly pay. Although the report points out that over the last two years this gap has reduced from 34.2% in 2010, to 26.4% in 2011 to 18.9% today, the graph below shows the overall bias in favour of men’s wages that is still very much alive in Santiago today:

Only time will tell whether these trends will be reversed or persist.

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