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Latin America’s Economic Landscape: Wage Structures and Minimum Wage Adjustments in 2024

Published on January 08, 2024

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Costa Rica leads, Ecuador makes strides even with dismal minimum wage Increase.

In the unfolding economic narrative of 2024, a detailed examination of wage structures in Ecuador and various Latin American nations sheds light on the intricate financial landscape.

Leading the pack is Costa Rica, standing as an economic titan with a basic salary a substantial 49% higher than that of Ecuador. As the new calendar year takes hold, Latin American workers find themselves at the forefront of income adjustments tied to shifts in minimum wage standards.

Ecuador’s Strategic Move

Ecuador has taken a small step forward in this economic landscape by instituting a nominal increment in the minimum wage. An additional $10 has been woven into the baseline, resulting in a monthly minimum wage of $460 for 2024. This move, orchestrated by the Ministry of Labor through a ministerial agreement ratified on December 15th, considers a projected 2.07% inflation for the fiscal year 2024, as outlined by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. This decision still strategically positions Ecuador in fourth place among the Latin American nations flaunting some of the highest basic salaries in the region.

Costa Rica leads others atop the list

Costa Rica maintains its unassailable position at the apex, boasting a basic salary equivalent to 358,609 Costa Rican colones, translating to a formidable $687.

This revelation comes from a recent and authoritative publication by Bloomberg Línea, serving as a compass for economic insights.

Following in the wake of this economic powerhouse, Uruguay takes its well-earned place with 22,268 pesos, an amount that equates to a commendable $570.

The procession continues with Chile contributing to the regional symphony with 460,000 pesos, a figure resonating as $521 in international economic parlance.

Venezuela at the Bottom, Argentina and the Dominican Republic Follow

On the flip side of this economic spectrum, Venezuela claims its position as the harbinger of the lowest basic salary in the region, with a meager 130 bolivars, equivalating to a paltry $3.61.

Joining this echelon of more modest basic incomes are Argentina and the Dominican Republic, clocking in at 156,000 Argentine pesos ($152) and 14,232 Dominican pesos ($245), respectively.

Navigating salaries and working hours dynamics

Transitioning to the dynamic interplay between salaries and working hours, this intricate dance becomes a crucial chapter in this wage assessment. The comparative analysis of basic salaries in Latin America serves as a reference point, grounded in nominal values without nuanced adjustments for purchasing power or the cost of living.

Legal working hours exhibit substantial variations among countries, with Ecuador maintaining a 40-hour workweek for the minimum basic salary, among the shortest in the region.

In contrast, countries like Costa Rica and Mexico adhere to regulations permitting a maximum of eight hours per day or 48 hours per week during the day. This further diversifies into seven hours during a mixed day or six hours at night, culminating in a total of thirty-six hours per week, as meticulously delineated by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in each respective country.Bottom of Form


  1. One would think that a history of failure for 4,000 years should convince people that price controls, including minimum wages, are bad for everyone. They harm the very people they are supposed to help. This must mean people lack sufficient education and critical thinking skills, or they prefer to live in dreamland and suffer the consequences of a lower standard of living. Milei learned the lesson, and Argentina will soon be an economic powerhouse of the world — unless he gets stopped.

  2. Ecuador has 2 extra annual salaries 13rd, 14th) so the real annual salary get it to 3rd place in Latin America


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