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Social distancing is difficult to attain in usually crowded Latin American and Caribbean public transit systems. Passengers on the Caracas Metro on May 26. Photo: Michael Mata / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The huge informal economy and dependence on tourism in Latin America has made controlling the spread of the coronavirus harder.

Why it matters: Around half the workers in Latin America and the Caribbean depend on the income they make from unregulated, precarious and untaxed jobs and businesses, without the cushion of contracts or social security benefits.

  • Those millions of street vendors, domestic workers, garment factory employees and others cannot work from home or afford to stay home if they're sick.
  • Many in the region live in multigenerational homes with little sanitation, and travel on usually crowded public transportation that doesn't allow for social distancing.
  • All this increases SARS-CoV-2 exposure and reduces the effectiveness of lockdowns.

The big picture: Extreme poverty in the region grew during 2020 to 33%, its highest point in two decades, and women’s participation in the job market plummeted.

  • The global drop in travel threw many people out of work and hundreds of millions of dollars in public revenue were lost, hitting tourism-dependent and poor Caribbean countries like the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba especially hard.
  • Experts fear Latin America and the Caribbean could take longer than other regions to bounce back from the pandemic’s economic effects, with the possibility of a “lost decade” of little to no growth.

Go deeper

More women and older workers gave up on looking for jobs last month

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The silver lining in Friday’s mediocre jobs report was this milestone: The unemployment rate dropped below 5% for the first time since the pandemic sent workers home in droves.

Yes, but: Part of what pushed it down was shrinking labor force participation.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."