Mexico lags in regional economic growth
Mexico is near the bottom of the barrel in economic growth projections for Latin America, a new report says.
The report, by the United Nations' Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, which is also known by its Spanish acronym, CEPAL), is an annual assessment of the state of economies, what's driving, or slowing, growth, the impact of fiscal and trade policies, and the like.
The good news is that the region's overall recovery, following the global economic slump of 2009, will continue, and Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole are projected to grow by 4.7% this year.
But the less-than-rosy news for Mexico is that it will grow by only 4% annually in 2011 and 2012. ECLAC puts most of the blame on a decline in demand for Mexican exports.
The fastest-expanding economies this year will be Panama (8.5%), followed by Argentina (8.3%), Haiti (8%) and Peru (7.1%), the report says. Mexico is ranked above only a handful of small Central American and Caribbean countries.
ECLAC notes that Mexico grew by 5.4% last year, but that only partially compensated for the huge decline of the year before, a loss of 6.1%. Mexico's economy is closely entwined with that of the United States, and it suffered in the global downturn more than some other countries in the region.
The report projects that Mexico will generate just under a million jobs this year, "insufficient to keep up with the annual increase in the economically active population." It calls for urgent economic reforms to spur growth, encourage investment and enhance productivity.
All told, the grim stats come in contrast to efforts by the government of President Felipe Calderon (link in Spanish) to portray the health of the nation's economy in a more positive light.
-- Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City