Volume 44, Number 175,
October-December 2013
The Emerging Phenomenon
of Unemployed Agricultural Day Laborers
Antonieta Barrón

In urban areas, women are concentrated in service activities, retail, commerce and domestic work, which was predominant in the recent past, and currently constitute about 10% on the national scale. However, in rural areas, these labor markets do not have much weight. The 2010 population census that categorized the population by principal employment in agricultural activities divided workers by elemental and supporting activities, including those that perform agricultural work and other specific jobs as “piscadores” (pickers). This category encompassed 19% of men and 27% of women. It appears that because inegi was aware of the importance of these categories for agricultural studies, they took on the task of categorizing these jobs in a specific manner, but this study did not obtain access to this information when preparing this text.

Taking into account the definition of vulnerable employment proposed by the ilo,4 we can observe that workers in conditions of vulnerable employment are proportionally more common among rural populations than urban.

It is notable that the differences in both cases of vulnerable employment with a greater presence of women are minimal. However, it is revealing that for rural populations, vulnerable employment levels are devastating as compared to the national average.

We shall now add income distribution to the presence of precarious employment in rural areas. According to the National Household Income and Spending Survey (enigh), incomes became more concentrated between 2008 and 2010.

Figure 2. Rural Household Income Deciles

Source: inegi, National Income Survey, 2008 and 2010.

Despite the fact that rural zones are the poorest, the trend of income concentration was seen to the same extent as for the national average. In this short time period, the first four deciles and the sixth saw falling incomes, while the last two rose.

4 According to the ilo, vulnerable employment is the sum of freelance workers plus contributing family workers. However, we can add three elements to this definition: hours worked, income and benefits. People who work more than 48 hours and receive up to two minimum wages, as well as those lacking benefits, can be included in the working population with vulnerable employment. This work will only use the population as defined by the ilo. Taken from: ilo (2009), "Employment Sector," Guide to the New Millennium Development Goals Employment Indicators, Geneva, June 2009.

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PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 50, Number 196 January-March 2019 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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