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Mexican Official Urges Unemployed to Be Creative

From Reuters

With unemployment levels at a four-year high, the government on Saturday urged Mexicans to create their own jobs, even if that means just making tacos or baking cakes at home.

Economy Minister Fernando Canales said in a national radio address that the government would use federal funds to help people who came up with good ideas for jobs.

“Simple ones are no less important: Set up a taco stall, a hairdressers’ salon, bake cakes at home ... products that give you added value,” Canales said.

Tens of millions of Mexicans live in poverty, and the government is struggling to revive the economy, which has partially recovered from a recession in 2001.

Figures released last week showed that unemployment jumped in June to its highest level since February 1999 amid a slump in the key manufacturing sector.

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The so-called open unemployment rate was 3.17% in June, but economists say the real figure is much higher because the definition of “employed” is very loose.

Canales spoke in a weekly radio program presented by President Vicente Fox.

The president, a former Coca-Cola executive who was inaugurated in December 2000, has been criticized for failing to energize the economy. His National Action Party lost seats in midterm congressional elections on July 6.

Fox told listeners he would discuss the benefits of informal employment in another radio address next week.

“We are going to look at the wonderful world of enterprise in which every person, every family, every woman can have access to starting up a mom-and-pop store and through that generate their own income without having to spend their time in a formal job,” Fox said.

He said informal jobs were “as valid and as good as formal employment.”

Millions of Mexicans already work in the informal sector. Unlicensed street vendors and taxi drivers are common in Mexico.


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