Global Labour Report – May 2024

This month’s Global Labour Report provides a brief look at current employment data from the following countries: Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia and the Dominican Republic. MRINetwork’s talent advisory reach extends globally through a 200+ office network of executive, professional, managerial, and technical recruitment specialists.


Panama has been a top workforce performer among the seven Central American countries. As noted in a recent IMF analysis: “In the two decades preceding the pandemic, Panama advanced in income convergence, with Panama’s income ratio to the US increasing from thirty-three to forty-eight percent. Rapid growth was driven by an unprecedented construction and investment boom that included major construction projects, such as the enlargement of the Panama Canal and the Tocumen airport, and the expansion of the services and logistics sectors that benefited from those projects. From the supply side, convergence was in large part supported by a sharp increase in the employment to population rate. This was the result of a demographic transition, an increase in female labor force participation, and a significant drop in unemployment.”

The IMF noted while Panama was hit hard by the pandemic, the economic recovery has been strong, with 2023 GDP growth of 7.5 percent, exceeding expectations for the third year in a row. Unemployment, which had surged from 7.1 percent in 2019 to over 18 percent in 2020, declined to 7.4 percent in August 2023. The IMF sees some clouds on the horizon in 2024 with employment disruptions caused by the shutdown of a large copper mine and in the short-term with investor concerns with external borrowing costs associated with declines in Panama’s investment grade status.

Read more at Panama: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2024 Article IV Mission | International Monetary Fund.

MRINetwork recruiters around the globe and throughout Central and South America as well as the Caribbean regions have access to top executive, technical, professional and managerial talent in virtually every industry, particularly in financial services, transportation and logistics, and manufacturing roles key to Panama’s growth.


Benefiting from the highest percentage of college-graduates in the Central American region, Costa Rica enjoys relatively low unemployment, 9.3% in 2023, compared to its neighbors. That rate tends to be exaggerated due to an estimated 46% of the workforce participating in the “informal” sector. A wealth of economic and employment information is available (in Spanish) from the Central bank of Costa Rica.

Monthly Economic Situation Report (Spanish) | BCCR

With over 88% of GDP contribution generated by employment in the Services and Manufacturing sectors, Costa Rica has seen moderate to strong demand for college-educated professional, technical and managerial talent. In addition, firms like TransUnion (U.S.:NYSE) have announced plans to leverage the lower-cost talent base in Costa Rica as they relocate skilled roles to their capacity centers operated in Costa Rica.

TransUnion Plans to Transition More Jobs Offshore to Increase Savings, Cut Costs | The Wall Street Journal

MRINetwork recruiters around the globe and throughout Latin America have access to top executive, technical, professional and managerial talent in virtually every industry with particular strength in tourism and lodging and business services that are key to Costa Rica’s growth.


Unemployment has been on a downward trend. In February 2024 unemployment stood at 11.7 percent a significant decrease versus prior years. Analysts’ consensus is for the economy to regain momentum through Q4 2024 but Goldman Sachs cautions on short-term business drivers, “We continue to expect below-trend real growth on the back of tight domestic financial conditions, still elevated inflation eroding households’ disposable income, and a soft credit cycle. Elevated policy uncertainty given the administration’s aggressive agenda and mounting executive actions weighing on key sectors, together with weak business sentiment, are likely to impinge further on private investment.”

Colombia Unemployment (% of active population, aop) | FocusEconomics

MRINetwork recruiters around the globe and throughout Central and South America as well as the Caribbean regions have unique insights into the most current talent needs in rapidly changing markets such as Columbia.


Despite its location, sharing a border with Haiti, the Dominican Republic has been, “an unexpected growth star bucking Latin America’s generally miserable performance to deliver Asian-style growth averaging 4.9 per cent a year over the past half-century” as noted by The Financial Times. The FT also quotes the IMF, reporting that the current seventh-biggest economy in Latin America could eventually transform the DR into an advanced economy by approximately 2060.

The simple idea behind LatAm’s star economy | Financial Times

According to popular President, Luis Abinader, The DR’s robust economic growth and relatively low unemployment (5.6 percent in 2023) are driven by a simple recipe, “Our government is a pro-investment, pro-business government, but at the same time we have increased social spending more than any other government.” MRINetwork management recruitment specialists throughout Latin America and in cooperation with Network offices in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific regions can help source the talent needed by leading DR firms as they rapidly grow meeting the needs of a robust economy.


Last week, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York outlined its views on what it sees as positive indicators for employment growth in Puerto Rico, “Since Hurricane Marie in 2017, the economy has been growing, interrupted only by a steep drop early in the pandemic.” The NY Fed noted the economy bounced back strongly with private employment at a fifteen-year high by mid-2022. It sees key labor demand drivers in medical manufacturing (currently below its peak in 2005), its expanding tourism sector, and it noted a “fledgling aerospace industry” that is emerging around Aguadilla and Arecibo.

Puerto Rico Economic Indicators | Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Unemployment continues to decline, standing at 5.7% in February. Employment recovery has been strong in manufacturing, leisure & hospitality and education & health. Reflecting fiscal reforms still underway employment in government has declined from a high of 310,000 in 2004 to under 200,000 in 2023.

MRINetwork offices in Puerto Rico, throughout Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions have talent recruitment strengths in key industries like medical, lodging tourism and aerospace driving employment growth in Puerto Rico.