The economically active population of Metropolitan Lima an increase of 2.9% compared to 2022, according to information from the , prepared by the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI). Although proper employment in city had an interannual rebound of 6.6% in 2023, surpassing the 3 million barrier, the greatest variation was seen in the invisible underemployment.

It is understood that a person is adequately employed when they work 35 or more hours per week and receive income above the minimum reference income, and for those who work less than 35 hours per week and do not wish to work more hours. On the other hand, underemployment can occur in two ways. First of all, the underemployment by income or invisible underemployment It is one in which workers work more than full time, but cannot cover the cost of the minimum basket, which today amounts to S/415. Meanwhile, the underemployment due to insufficient hours or visible underemployment It exists when the employee’s working hours are not sufficient compared to what he or she wishes to perform.

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Thus, while during 2023 the underemployment Metropolitan Lima had a slight rebound of 0.4%, reaching 2.1 million people. his invisible underemployment grew 8.9%, being the way of work of 1.7 million employees in the capital. That is, although the number of underemployed did not vary much, there was a significant growth in those who work with a salary of less than S/415.

Meanwhile, the visible underemployment had a year-on-year drop of 23.1%, reaching 442 thousand people.

On the other hand, the unemployed population in the capital reached 379 thousand people, a drop of 10% compared to 2022. Despite this, it is still above pre-pandemic figures, when 346 thousand unemployed were registered.

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According to specialists consulted, the results of the report show that jobs are being generated in the country, although they are not productive enough or with the necessary conditions to ensure the well-being of employees.

In the formal market employment is still growing, but it is slowing down. In terms of underemployment It should be noted that it is not necessarily informal employment, but it is low-income employment. The indicator indicates that in general there is a low quality of employment”said Hugo Perea, chief economist at BBVA Research.

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In the same sense, Jorge Toyama, partner of the Vinatea & Toyama studio, highlighted that until the third quarter of 2023, informality had been reducing, but this was not the result of a better job offer, but because the sectors where employment is generated They are not very productive, so they provide lower salaries.

Informality has been reduced, but it is not because there is much more formal employment, but because the highest productivity employment is the one that has been lost the most. Today the sectors that generate the most employment are non-productive ones, such as Services and Commerce. On the other hand, the jobs that are lost are in the productive sectors. That is why it has grown underemployment by income, because the job that is created is one in which you earn less than the average”he explained.

According to Miguel Jaramillo, principal researcher at GRADE, this scenario occurs because companies in the productive sectors have reduced their investments, which translates into stagnation and the reduction of jobs with good standards.

The drop in employment is explained by the Agriculture, Fishing and Mining sectors, where the reduction in employment was strongest. It fundamentally has to do with the fall in private investment due to the political environment that, in some cases, shows authorities who have animosity against the private sector.”, he indicated.

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The sources agreed that the slowdown in unemployment is positive, but that it is urgent that the Central Government provide the necessary conditions so that the jobs created have adequate conditions. Slow economic growth works against the creation of new jobs.

Creating a ‘shock’ of confidence is very difficult. Beyond that, 2023 closed with the recession and although there will be a rebound in 2024, the change in the trend will take at least a quarter to be seen. Thus, even if the GDP for January or February is good, it will only be reflected three months later.“Toyama assured.

In this context, the sectors that fell at the end of last year could rebound in the coming months, but this would not translate into better working conditions.

I do not expect substantive improvements in the quality of employment. Surely in 2024 there will be more employment due to a rebound effect. The hit sectors such as Agriculture, Fishing or Construction are going to rebound. Since they have had such bad years, they will surely increase their economic activity, which could translate into more jobs. But I have doubts about its quality. A Government with clearer ideas and that aims to promote more private investment would be needed to have another projection”Jaramillo questioned.

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Like Jaramillo, for Perea, one way to reverse the trend is to generate a favorable scenario for investment. However, the lack of decision on the part of the Central Government to confront controversial issues does not portend any near changes.

“The deterioration of the labor market is a reflection of a weak economy. To reverse it, for example, the delays in the labor policies imposed in the Pedro Castillo Government should be eliminated. The ban on outsourcing is suspended, not eliminated. The Central Government could give a message repealing the rule, but it does not take a position in this or other cases. Then, there are broader labor reforms that must be made, but today there is no space to discuss them”, he reflected.



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