[Excerpt] In summary, and as discussed in the corresponding section of the 2004 Labour Overview, several countries experienced labour progress in 2004, while progress stagnated in others and declined in a few. It is therefore a year marked by advances and setbacks, with favourable projections for 2005 as long as the positive perspectives for economic growth persist, the growth of the labour supply remains at moderate levels and economic and social policies are applied that make quality employment a core objective.
In addition to the analysis of the labour market situation during the first three quarters of 2004 and projections for 2004 and 2005, this edition of Labour Overview includes three feature articles. The first feature is a summary of the proposals for decent work and employment policy that the ILO presented at the MERCOSUR Regional Employment Conference in April 2004. The second feature summarizes the conclusions of a recent ILO study on the microeconomic factors that have an impact on labour productivity. The third feature article discusses a recent ILO study on the magnitude and characteristics of child labour to be abolished (labour prohibited by law in the respective countries) in the region. In addition, three boxes included in the report present key labour issues, such as recent minimum wage trends in the region, the sectoral composition of urban employment and social security contributors as well as the situation and trends with regard to freedom of association in the region.
The 2004 Labour Overview also contains the Statistical Annex, and for the first time presents current information on labour market performance in Canada and the United States.