According to DANE (Colombia Statistics Bureau) figures, the number of employed people increased 4.1% from March 2014, meaning that in the last year, 854,000 Colombians found jobs. This resulted in a maximum employment rate for any March since Colombia started tracking unemployment. These results come in an environment of increased participation in the labor market. At a national level, the overall participation rate increased to 63.9%.
On average in the last three months, the unemployment rate also posted record lows for March, settling at 10.1% (10.5% in March 2014). This dynamism in the labor market is proof of the ability of the Colombian economy to create jobs and absorb the increasing labor supply, says the ministry.
In the quarter ended in March, the number of employed increased by 662 000, which in annual terms represents an increase of 3.2%. For the 13 largest metropolitan areas the increase in the quarter was 362,000 (3.6%). The increase reflected a good dynamic in the national productive sector and relatively optimistic expectations about the direction of the economy in 2015.
The tightening of the labor market should generate positive consumer confidence due to its relationship with domestic demand. Despite external shocks facing the Colombian economy, it has shown resilience and continues to generate employment. It should be noted that this increase in employment has been particularly noticeable in wage employment, which grew at an annual rate of 4.8%, higher than the self-employed (1.9%) jobs.
The sectors focused on domestic demand created the most jobs. Employment in real estate, including renting and sales activities increased by 11%, contributing 0.8 percentage points to the generation of employment at the national level, followed by construction, which grew at a 12.3% annualized rate and contributed 0.7 percentage points. The number of individuals employed in industry grew 6.4% and contributed 0.8 percentage points to the increase in domestic employment.
The labor market growth extends to all areas of the country. The cities with the lowest unemployment rate were: Monteria (7.2%), Barranquilla (8.7%) and Cartagena (8.7%), while the cities with the highest unemployment rate were Cucuta (18.1%), Armenia (16.9%) and Quibdo (15.6%).