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LatinNews Daily - 04 January 2021

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In brief: Panama’s private sector urges action to address unemployment

* Panama’s leading private sector lobby, Cámara de Comercio, Industrias y Agricultura de Panamá (CCIAP), has urged the government led by President Laurentino Cortizo to take urgent action to “protect, create, and generate jobs”, in order to address the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. CCIAP’s call follows figures released by the national statistics institute (Inec) last month, which showed that the unemployment rate rose from 7.1% in 2019 to 18.5% in 2020, the highest figure in 20 years. The latest (December 2020) forecast from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac) predicted that Panama’s economy would shrink by 11% in 2020 - the largest contraction in Central America.