Almost 40 percent of Argentine households saw their income reduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, while 20 percent of the population has problems feeding themselves, according to a new report presented on Monday by the World Bank.
However, the study also found that 40 percent of Argentine households received government assistance (regular or emergency) during the pandemic. Interestingly, this was slightly less than the average across Latin America and the Caribbean (48 percent).
"While employment has recovered from last year in the region, the quality of jobs has deteriorated because informality has increased due to the pandemic," reads the report produced by the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It argues that the number of hours worked remains below pre-pandemic levels, and more than half of respondents report that income from their has not fully recovered.
In the case of Argentina, 24 percent of the population that was employed before the pandemic is now unemployed or has left the labour market, the report warns.
"Of particular concern is that the quality of employment has worsened, especially among vulnerable groups: women, the elderly, and less educated workers," said the study.
According to the World Bank, "food insecurity" almost doubled in the region during the pandemic.
"This means that, if they have access to food, they are not sure they can put a plate on the table every day. Countries with higher [levels of] inequality and poverty experienced a bigger shock in terms of food insecurity."
World Bank figures show that about 20 percent of households in Argentina face problems in having sufficient food (before the pandemic, that level was 10 percent). The country with the greatest difficulties in the region is Haiti.
The study notes that participation in some form of educational activity in the region is 12 percentage points below pre-pandemic attendance rates. Moreover, the level and type of engagement varies substantially between and within countries.
The lowest levels of participation were found in Guatemala, Guyana and Belize, with only two-thirds of school-age children participating in some form of education.
According to the report, the pandemic in Argentina increased the use of digital tools and online banking by 40 percent, one of the highest rates in the region.