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New jobs report offers some much needed good news for Yucatán’s economy

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Tourists in Valladolid board a bus after a day trip from Mexico’s Caribbean, a sure sign that the tourism industry is recovering slowly but surely. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Authorities in Yucatán are boasting the news that the state has recovered more jobs than were lost since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Officially at least, the recovery has come earlier than expected. It was announced in October 2020 that the lost jobs would be recovered in roughly two years — but many are skeptical. 

An estimated 28,046 new jobs have been created in the state over the past 14 months. according to a new report. 

While the official number of jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic sits at just over 25,000, it is likely that the real number is much greater. That is because roughly 60% of all jobs in Yucatán are informal, or “off the books.”

Furthermore, the new report does not offer statistics regarding the quality or pay scale for these new jobs, many of which are in the low-wage service sector. 

In Yucatán, the minimum wage is just over 141 pesos a day, or roughly $US7. The situation is also extremely dire for new college graduates who can expect monthly wages on average of just 4,238 pesos a month, or 210 USD, according to the INEGI.

Earlier: New numbers signal slow but steady recovery for tourism in Yucatán

For obvious reasons, one of the worst affected sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the tourism industry. Though this key industry is beginning to show signs of recovery, even the most optimistic economic analysts note that there is still much work ahead. 

Signs of recovery include the return of cruise ships to the port city of Progreso as well greater affluence at archaeological sites such as Chichén Itzá and Uxmal

Though hotel occupancy in Mérida and Valladolid still remains low, hovering around 30%, the situation seems to be improving slowly but steadily, according to data provided by state authorities.

The state’s economy has held up better than those of other states. Returning to pre-2020 levels in key industries such as tourism will be extremely challenging, said Ernesto Herrera Novelo, Yucatán’s secretary of economic development. 

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