The visit of the Vice President of the United States to Mexico on June 8 served to address various issues on the bilateral agenda . The media gave importance especially to the migration issue, but Mrs. Harris gave a prominent place , also , to the labor question. Her appointments deserve some comments.
A compilation of testimonies collected by Blanca Velázquez Díaz and published by the Ebert Foundation (available at: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/mexiko/17328.pdf
) offers an account of the harsh reality by which some workers of the maquila industry in the Mexican state of Morelos have gone through over these last twelve months. Their words reflect, undoubtedly, similar experiences of millions of workers in different parts of the country.
The trend of the Mexican economy during the last two years has not been positive. INEGI, the official bureau of statistics, has just reported that GDP registered a fall of 8.5 percent compared to 2019 with seasonally adjusted figures. But in 2019 GDP also receded, although in far less measure, less than one percentage point. However, it must be considered that the Mexican economy has been falling for 6 quarters (compared to the previous year). Considering the population growth rate (1.2 percent per year), the fall in the GDP per capita is close to 11 percent. This figure matters because it gives a more accurate idea of the size of the downturn. It is also necessary to take into account the two years, since our interest should be now to try to figure out how long the recession will be the endure, that is, when will Mexico reach the pre-pandemic level of GDP.
The new year has arrived, but the situation is worse than in the last months of 2020. The pandemic is still unleashed: the end of the year holidays, the official permissiveness, and the slowness of the distribution of vaccines seem to announce that the disease will continue to wreak havoc for several months in most of the world, particularly in America, Europe, and parts of Asia like India. It has therefore been required to redouble preventive measures: a new lockdown and the disruption of almost all economic and school activities. Therefore, the recovery looks still uncertain and distant.
As many have observed worldwide, the outcome of the US presidential elections has been, as expected - full of hope and fear. Many people had the bad feeling that if Trump were to be re-elected, the uncertainty, already enormous due to the pandemic and its effects, would jeopardize the economic recovery worldwide. The triumph of Democrat Biden does not guarantee great solutions, but at the least offers a little more of transparency, certainty, and stability.
The national occupation and employment survey prepared by INEGI, with figures updated to July 2020, shows an improvement that has occurred in the last two months. However, the employment situation, compared with the data existing before the pandemic still shows serious problems:
A group composed by women and men, called Nuevo Curso de Desarrollo (New Course for Development) based at the National University of Mexico recently published a document to propose a set of measures to change the current economic policy in Mexico. This proposal responds to a diagnosis of the current situation: at this point of the year, the serious social damage inflicted by the health and economic crisis can already be observed. As we know, in Mexico as in many other countries, there was a great economic disruption caused by COVID. Millions of people ceased to receive income from their work. However, the Mexican government has not carried out sufficient support measures to compensate for these losses. The result is easy to guess: many households have been rapidly impoverished. It is estimated that between 10 and 16 million people in April earned much less to the point of not being able to acquire the basic food basket , a situation that has continued for many of them during May, June and July. And while it is true that more and more workers are returning to their jobs, the losses caused have not been repaired.