Latin America

Understanding Latin America’s wave of informal employment

The coronavirus has pushed waves of Latin Americans into the gig economy, where they are robbed of labor protections and stability

Understanding Latin America wave informal employment
Photo: Myriam B/Shutterstock

Lara, a 25-year-old trilingual international relations graduate living in Salvador, the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, has been forced into a career change by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the qualifications and experience on her résumé, she resorted to selling homemade cakes in order to pay the bills. With the help of her mother, Lara put together her own store, stocking a variety of traditional Brazilian sweets. She is part of a group of 158 million informal workers in Latin America who are not protected by any labor rights, formal employment contracts, and often have to work in...

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