Mexico's job industry is growing stronger

An avenue near the Los Pinos residence is lined with the Mexican and American flags in Mexico City.

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Kai Ryssdal: The private data company ADP delivered some promising data this morning. ADP processes a lot of private company payrolls out there, and so in theory has a good handle on the ups and downs of the American labor market. They said today their best guess for the December unemployment report we're going to get Friday morning will be about 300,000 new jobs.

If it happens, that'd be a nice gain, but well shy of what's happening south of the border. 2010 was the best year for jobs Mexico's had in 14 years. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: Mexicans have reason to be optimistic about their economy. Samuel Freije Rodriguez is an economist with the World Bank.

Samuel Freije Rodriguez: The average wages have started to grow faster again. And the unemployment rates have leveled off.

Officially, unemployment now stands at around 5 percent. That sounds pretty good. But it doesn't account for all the people working in Mexico's underground economy.

Still, Freije Rodriguez says Mexicans are increasingly moving away from informal jobs and joining the formal economy.

Freije Rodriguez: The informal employment rates in Mexico have declined during the last three or four quarters.

The recession in the U.S. prompted many migrants to return to Mexico. That may cause more competition for some jobs. But these returning migrants also bring capital to start new businesses or build a house.

Mauricio CA¡rdenas is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Mauricio CA¡rdenas: The return of Mexican migrants overall has had a positive effect on the Mexican economy.

And with a stronger economy at home, there's less incentive for Mexicans to leave. Demetrios Papademetriou is president of the Migration Policy Institute.

Demetrios Papademetriou: It's going to make it a bit easier for people to decide to stay home and take their chances.

He says there are big demographic changes going on in Mexico -- women are having fewer kids. So, in about 10 years, the number of jobs will match more closely with the number of job seekers, making it less enticing to look for jobs in the U.S.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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