For a large number of workers in Latin America, the new year brings with it a readjustment of the legal minimum wage. This is the case of Mexico, which despite having a 20% increase in the minimum wage as of January, this represents almost half of the nominal income guaranteed by law, for example, in Costa Rica. In December 2022, the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that the minimum wage would increase from 172.87 to 207.44 Mexican pesos per day, which is equivalent to about US$325 per month, according to Bloomberg Línea estimates, based on in the price of the dollar in force on December 28. The Brazilian government did the same, increasing the minimum wage by 9% to reach 1,320 reais, equivalent to about 250 dollars. Despite this increase, the legal minimum income for a Brazilian worker remains one of the lowest in the region.
Of the countries analyzed in this Statista infographic, Costa Rica has the highest minimum wage, totaling about $603 per month as of January 2023. Other Latin American countries that guarantee a relatively high level of income to workers include Uruguay , whose minimum wage exceeds 21,100 Uruguayan pesos (about $540 per month), and Chile, where it reaches 410,000 Chilean pesos (about $475 per month). In Colombia there is a wage floor of 1,160,000 Colombian pesos, which is equivalent to about 242 dollars, while in Argentina the conversion of the minimum wage of 65,427 Argentine pesos to the US currency yields only about 189 dollars.
These estimates are based on nominal values, that is, they are not adjusted based on purchasing power or the cost of living in each economy. Therefore, the comparison can often seem unfair. Even so, in this region of the world, Venezuela stands out for its extreme difference with the rest, since its minimum wage of 130 bolivars is equivalent to about eight dollars.
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