Volume 44, Number 174,
July-September 2013
Colombia: Commercial Integration
and Trade Imbalances in the Pacific Basin
Jaime Torres

When total employment9 growth rates for industries with more than 10 laborers is compared with Colombian population growth for the period 1997-2010, it is clear that the generation of industrial employment — with a few exceptions — remained below population increases (see Figures 10 and 11).10

Figure 10. Industrial Employment and Population Growth Rates (1997=1.00)

Source: National Manufacturing Survey from the National Administrative Department of Statistics (dane), various years and national population from the dane 2005 Census. http://dane.gov.co/index.php?option=com:content&view=article&id=76<emid=56, consulted July 9, 2012.

Figure 11 shows how the total rate of industrial employment fell starting in 1997 and only rose to its initial levels in 2010. However, the population had grown by 18% in that time period. Employment in the large majority of industries rose at a rate lower than population growth, with a few exceptions, such as the chemical and plastic rubber industries. Areas with high productivity per employee where Colombia has major competitive advantages in terms of resource supply — such as oil derivatives — do not generate many jobs and as can be seen in Figure 11, the volume of employment in these sectors fell radically between 1997 and 2010 (3,939 fewer direct jobs in 2010).

Figure 11. Industrial Employment and Population Growth Rates (1997=1.00)

Sources: See Figure 10.

It can be concluded that although the US dollar value of Colombian industrial exports has grown dynamically, this growth has not led to job creation, meaning that Colombia is one of the few countries in Latin America with open unemployment rates in the double digits in this century.

9 Formal employment rates calculated by the dane Annual Manufacturing Survey take the base as 1997=100. The population was also made equal to 100 in 1997 for purposes of comparing trends in creating or destroying employment through 2010.

10 The year 1997 was taken as the base. It is considered a normal year, with 3.43% gdp growth.

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 192, January-March is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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