70 per cent of unemployed people is aged 15 to 24

Labour exclusion, young people outside the school system, premature pregnancies… are some of the causes of youth unemployment in Panama. According to a World Bank study, this Latin American country is home to the largest proportion of teenagers who see education as a waste of time. Thus, 70 per cent of unemployed people is aged 15 to 24.

Just ten years ago, one in four young people didn’t have a job. That figure has changed, now four out of five are not in employment, education or training (NEETs). This is the biggest youth employment crisis in 13 years. Added to this is the high number of crimes, 630,000 per year, or 1.2 crimes per minute.

According to figures from the National Statistics Institute of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Panama, the unemployment rate increased to 6.4 per cent, while in 2018, it stood at 5.8 per cent. Another result revealed by the survey is that the female unemployment rate stands at 8.2 per cent, compared to 5 per cent for the male population. The highest total unemployment rate was observed among 15-19-year olds (19.4 per cent). However, it tends to decline in the 20-24 age group, reaching its lowest value in the 60-69 age group (1.9 per cent).


The Government of this country expects the employment trend to improve in the coming months. This would increase the number of jobs for the start-up of large construction and infrastructure projects such as the new metro line or the expansion of the Tocumen International Airport.

According to the latest report from the Ministry of Labour of this Caribbean country, employment contracts fell by 9.4 per cent from January to April of this year. Meanwhile, job creation prospects for the third quarter stand at 2 per cent, the lowest figure in a decade.

However, despite the poor performance of the economy and employment registered in recent years and the drop in the number of new employment contracts, the new government is optimistic that employment figures will increase by the end of the year.