Peter Gregory

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



In 1973, the Inter-American Economic and Social Council issued a report that identified a pressing problem facing the countries of the hemisphere in the following terms: "Of the many socioeconomic maladjustments at present faced by Latin American countries, a critical one is the gap between opportunities for gainful employment and the size of the working-age population. The great importance ascribed to this problem lies in its very extent, the prevailing trends toward its worsening in almost the entire region, on its disastrous consequences for the welfare of a large proportion of the population, and on the decisive role it will play in the dynamics of the socioeconomic development of Latin America in the next few years." This concern with the quantity and quality of employment opportunities available to the labor force is shared by virtually all observers of the development process and by government and international agencies charged with the responsibility of facilitating the economic development of the Third World. A special urgency is attached to the problem of employment in view of the generally prevailing belief that employment conditions have been deteriorating generally in the less developed countries. For example, a recent report of the Inter-American Development Bank noted that "in Latin America today the rapid growth rate of the labor force is not for the most part being matched by increased opportunities for employment. As a result, both unemployment and underemployment are increasing in most countries.


Latin American and Iberian Institute

Language (ISO)



Employment, Unemployment, Underemployment, Latin America