It’s no secret that Panama is enjoying record levels of employment, due in part to a sustained eight year construction boom across almost every single sector. Unemployment in Panama is so low that the government has recently considered measures to ease immigration bottlenecks to facilitate the arrival of foreign professionals in the medical, engineering, and mining sectors. Developers building residential condo projects, office towers, and hotels have found skilled labor to be in short supply because government projects like the metro and Panama Canal expansion are competing for a very small labor pool.
Panama is not only leading the region in low unemployment, it’s actually one of the countries with the lowest levels of unemployment in the world.
The most interesting factor to consider about this phenomenon is that it’s spread across so many industries and divided between private and government sponsored projects. But what happens when the projects come to an end? Will Panama be faced with massive unemployment for workers who were formerly in the construction sector? Industry experts don’t think so.
This week alone, three tangible such examples of privately funded and government joint venture projects act as harbingers of Panama’s steady employment for years to come.
$52M Cash Injection By 3M
This week, 3M, headquartered in Panama Pacifico, announced a plan to invest an additional 52 million dollars in their regional office headquarters and manufacturing facility located 20 minutes outside of Panama City.
According to Gustavo Angulo, 3M’s regional director, 3M currently serves 19 countries in Latin America from their Panama hub, with plans of expanding to Europe and Asia. They expect to have more than 350 employees at the Panama plant within the next two years which will nearly double their current capacity.
$600M Investment In Container Terminals
On an even larger scale, the Panamanian government just signed a $600 million dollar agreement with the Chinese government to build three new container terminals on the north side of Panama in Isla Margarita. This will generate an additional 800 jobs in the construction phase alone.
Of the total investment, $300.9 million relates to the construction of the three docks. Through the Maritime Authority of Panama, the State will receive $9.7 million as consideration for the termination of the concession in the form of a fixed fee. In addition, it will be paid $12 per container movement made at the port terminal, the same rate charged by other port operators.
Just given this week’s announcements we can see roughly 1,000 jobs generated on the construction phase of the development, plus untold new positions on the manufacturing and logistics sides.