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LABOUR-ARGENTINA: Informal Economy Just Won't Shrink By Marcela Valente BUENOS AIRES, Jun 12 (IPS) - The Argentine economy has been growing steadily for over four years, and unemployment has fallen 14 percent in that period. However, experts say that nearly half of all jobs are precarious and/or of poor quality. Argentina's gross domestic product (GDP) has increased by an average of nine percent a year since 2003, while unemployment had dropped to 9.8 percent by the first quarter of this year, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC). Unemployment had soared to 24 percent after the late 2001 collapse of the economy which triggered the worst crisis in Argentine history. But the increase in the number of jobs over the past four years has not been accompanied by an improvement in the quality of employment. The proportion of workers who are not "registered" for taxation and social security purposes still stands at 44 percent -- just six percentage points below the proportion seen at the start of the economic, social and political crisis that toppled president Fernando de la Rúa in December 2001. "The fight against unemployment does not in and of itself lead to a drop in precarious employment," Noemí Giosa Zuazúa, with the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Public Policies, told IPS. Who are these unregistered workers lacking social security coverage and labour benefits? Many
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