Chile jobless rate jumps to 13.1%, a third of employed report income drops

Credit: REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

By Aislinn Laing

SANTIAGO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Chile's unemployment rate CLUNR=ECI jumped to 13.1% between May and July, 5.6 percentage points higher than the same period in the previous year and a new record this decade as the country continued to maintain strict lockdowns in an effort to suppress the coronavirus outbreak.

The most significant drops in employment were in the commerce (-24.9%), construction (-34.8%) and accommodation and food services sectors (-49.5%), with the number of formal wage earners declining by 11.9% and self-employed workers by 32.8%.

Informal unemployment was 22.3%, a 5.2% decline from the previous year, due to drops in informal employment in commerce (-36.7%) and agriculture and fishing (-42.0%).

INE said it had included fresh questions in its survey at the recommendation of the International Labor Organization to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said for the quarter between May to July 33.8% of those declaring as employed reported a contraction in their income, while 58.1% said it had remained the same and 2.0% said it had increased. More than half of people who declared themselves as self-employed, employers or informal workers said their incomes had dropped, compared with 29% of those in the formal sector.

(Reporting by Aislinn Laing; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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