January 03, 2001
Employment grew at an annual percentage rate of 3.4 percent in Mexico from 1991 to 1998. By this measure, Mexico compares favorably with many other countries.
However, at least two indicators of "informal" employment—employment in establishments with five or fewer employees and jobs with no employment benefits—grew at greater rates, especially in the first half of the decade. The 1995 economic downturn in Mexico played a large part in those developments, but only accelerated trends that were recognizable in 1991-93.
Since 1995, in contrast, total employment has grown faster than informal employment. Three contributing factors: recovery from the recession, rising exports, reforms in the social insurance system.
Comparative data for foreign economies are products of the Foreign Labor Statistics program. The "informal sector" is generally made up of small establishments providing marginal, insecure, and low-paying jobs. Read "Employment and unemployment in Mexico in the 1990s," by Gary Martin, Monthly Labor Review, November 2000, for more information on recent labor market trends in that country.