“Registered youth employment has accumulated 33 months of growth,” the national government announced this Thursday. The good news was quickly reported by the official media. According to the Production Studies Center (CEP XXI), dependent on the Ministry of Industry, jobs for people between 18 and 24 years old exceeded 857,760. That would mark a “record” for the last 5 years.
The official announcement covers other positive data, but is careful to show the complete x-ray of youth employment. These elections have also become a stage where the candidates’ proposals for working youth are exposed. The debate on the “Rappi vote” that we reflected in different articles was one of its most intense points.
But if you look at the street and also seriously look at the official data, you can know the harsh reality.
More work for less pay
The Ministry of Industry has published all the data in an application that you can see here. The number of registered private positions grew post-pandemic, it is logical. But what else happened?
If one focuses on the evolution of salaries for all activities and the country as a whole, one finds a sustained drop from 2016 to date. Taken in “constant values”, the real salary of youth employed in the registered private sector, that is, the best paid, went from 252 thousand pesos to 213 thousand. A drop of almost 20%. Look at the graph: it’s a slide.
But that’s the average. If one takes the activities in which young people mostly work, one finds that the decline is brutal. And the pockets are hit. For example, oil, mining or electricity can reach 300 or 400 thousand pesos. But commerce, construction, personal services (domestic), rural or gastronomy are between 170 and 120 thousand pesos. And that is where the bulk of 18 to 24 employment is.
The different realities are also clear in the study. A young person from Neuquén or Santa Cruz, where oil activities prevail, for example, earns twice as much as someone who works in Corrientes or Santiago del Estero, where rural work is more widespread. The costs of living also change: with that salary no young person from Neuquén can leave the family home.
More bad news
As we said before, the data celebrated by the Ministry of Industry has its other side. But they also reflect the sector that is better off. Or less worse. Because the same government recognizes in a work this year that the majority of youth is outside of those (diminished) rights.
This is reflected in a work titled “Trends in youth work: self-employment, work on delivery platforms and the knowledge economy.” Very clear. The main trend is not the growth in private registered work but self-employment. “Be your own boss,” as Milei says.
The study ensures that of the 3,275,357 people between 16 and 29 years old who work (that is, it uses a broader universe) “2,171,831 young people are currently outside the full rights associated with work.” And he continues to be pale: “while 1,274,718 are informal salaried workers, 448,966 are unemployed and 448,147 are self-employed.”
To put it more easily: 2 out of 3 are “in the black”, more than 15% are unemployed (triple that of adults) and 1 out of 5 are self-employed.
The study, very interesting, recognizes that 1 in 4 young self-employed people had abandoned their studies and more than 70% generated income less than the Minimum Living and Mobile Wage (SMVyM).
Do you remember the 20-year-old girl who fainted when the train arrived and miraculously saved her life. Fatima is called. That day she said that she fainted because she had not eaten that day. She was “entrepreneurial.”
The report, which you can read here, recognizes that more and more young people work in this way, or in delivery applications, without rights. And those who are a little better off, in the “knowledge economy”, also do it as “freelance”.
Rebel or precarious
It is clear. Youth have been handed over, government after government, as cheap labor to the business class. Including those “small and medium-sized businesses” that they defend so much today. They earn less, they have fewer rights, they have more accidents.
Milei has taken advantage of the discomfort of this youth without rights to demand the vote, when in reality he wants to end up plunging them into misery. Massa went in search of that vote in recent weeks, with her very small gesture to the delivery people or her tour of schools.
Basically the dilemma is as the left proposes: if they do not rebel against this system, youth will continue to be precarious. The left is the only one that wants to stand up those millions of young people, as part of the working class, to win their rights and change history.