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Historically, economic crises have had heterogeneous effects, but on this occasion, the consequences have been particularly devastating for women. This is partly explained by structural characteristics and those caused by the pandemic, issues that need to be addressed in order to build a sustainable recovery.
In the first quarter of the year, consumption grew 7.5% in annual terms, partially influenced by a rebound effect due to the start of quarantines in 2020. In March, the services sectors returned to pre-pandemic levels, compensating for the lower dynamics of goods consumption.
The real estate sector has good growth prospects and will lead the country's economic recovery process. It will be driven by medium and low priced new housing. Meanwhile, higher-value housing, used housing and the non-residential sector will have a slightly later recovery.
In February, employment was boosted by the easing of mobility restrictions. By that month, 79% of the employment lost when it had deteriorated the most had been recovered. Its recovery is expected to continue and its pace will depend on economic growth, the progress of the pandemic and the measures to contain it.
In Colombia, the gender gap in the labor market already existed before the pandemic; however, the suspension of in-person education mainly affected the employment of women who were not heads of households and households with children, widening the gap in the labor participation rate and possibly the wage gap.
Remittances to several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean grew at double digits during the month of February 2021: Mexico (+ 16.2% in USD), Guatemala (+ 16.7%), El Salvador (+ 13.0%), Dominican Republic (+ 27.6%) and Colombia (15.4%).
So far in March, consumption has maintained a similar dynamic to that observed in February, but with a better performance of the service sectors, in which restaurants and fuel surpassed the pre-pandemic level. The beginning of Easter week in the country slows down spending in restaurants and accelerates hotel spending.
In March, the recovery in spending has slowed compared to that observed in February. Despite a moderation in goods, in the last week of the month a higher relative spending relative to 2019 was observed, driven by the recovery in services, restaurants and clothing.