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Mexico Stimulus Can Prevent 2009 Job Contraction, Labor Minister Lozano Says

By Nathan Gill and Jens Erik Gould
     Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican Labor Minister Javier Lozano said his country’s economic stimulus plan can prevent a contraction in the job market this year.
     “I hope that with the measures that are being taken we do not have a drop in the net number of formal jobs in 2009,” Lozano said. “But this will depend greatly on the evolution of the economy and the efficiency and timeliness of these measures.”
     Lozano spoke to reporters after a meeting today in Santiago with Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet and the labor ministers from Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The meeting was also attended by Juan Somavia, director general of the United Nations International Labor Organization.
     President Felipe Calderon announced a stimulus program on Jan. 7 that aims to help companies avoid firing workers when they lower production levels or temporarily shut down plants. The package also increases the amount of time the unemployed can receive health benefits and allows the jobless to withdraw more money from their retirement accounts.

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