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Roxana Maurizio

Latin America experienced a long period of sustained growth from 2003 that positively impacted upon social and labour market indicators. Less inequality and higher incomes resulted in lower poverty and extreme poverty incidence rates. However, even in this positive context the region continues to exhibit important shortcomings in the labour market. The most evident are high levels of unemployment, precariousness and informality. Given the importance of the labour market in household income generation, especially in a region where social protection coverage is limited, those precarious labour conditions often give rise to poverty and social exclusion. As a consequence, a large proportion of the workforce has a job that does not generate sufficient income to escape poverty. Thus the phenomenon of the ‘working poor’ in these countries shows that having a job is no guarantee against poverty. The aim of this chapter is to contribute to the understanding of the incidence, characteristics, trends and underlying driving forces of in-work poverty in Latin America in the new millennium. The empirical analysis focuses on five countries: Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. This selection of countries offers a varied picture of in-work poverty incidence in the region.