Check out 5 findings from IOM and ILO’s study of labor market information systems in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras

Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Other, Panama
13 January, 2020

The study “Labor Market Information Systems (LMIS) in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico: Towards better integration of labor migration” was conducted as part of the cooperation between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) on labor migration.  

The study of LMIS analyzed the characteristics and current state of these systems in the four countries and the way in which they integrate labor migration in their data collection and generation processes, in order to generate information on migration flows and their connection to labor markets. Below, the 5 most relevant results are summarized.  

1) In El Salvador, the level of statistical information generated on labor markets enables comparative analysis and identification of trends in certain variables and indicators. One of the primary challenges identified is that the majority of institutions with jurisdiction related to the labor market lack sufficient human, technical, and monetary resources to track the behavior of labor markets. 

2) Guatemala has an LMIS which is under construction. The study indicated limited production of information on the topic, which primarily depends on two administrative records maintained by the Guatemalan Institute of Social Security (IGSS) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (MINTRAB). Additionally, two national surveys (Household Survey and Multiple Purposes and Survey of Establishments, Employment, Hours, and Salaries) produce information on this topic, and their applications depend in large part on the availability of resources obtained through international cooperation. 

3) LMIS are in the early stages of development in Honduras. Information is generated by institutions related to the issue, primarily in administrative records, but the follow-up and data mining that would enable the information to be used are lacking. Additionally, there is a marked lack of access to primary information. The study indicates that the inclusion of the issues of migration and labor migration in particular are limited at the level of data generation. 

4) In Mexico an important set of sources provide data on the labor market. However, the information may be disorganized at some extents. To improve Mexico’s existing LMIS, the national report presents a series of areas that need revision, including various aspects of the conceptual frameworks of employment and work, the conceptual framework of migration, international comparability, and the type of analysis each source allows. 

5) The primary challenges for building and improving labor market information systems are related to financial sustainability, limited human resources, lack of coordination between the institutions that generate information, and the absence of mechanisms for exchanging data.  


The field phase of the research that produced these findings was conducted May to September 2019 and included 91 interviews with relevant actors, 8 focus groups, and database review and analysis examining administrative records, censuses, and surveys. To follow up on this work, IOM, with technical assistance from ILO, will support the four countries considered in the study in implementing the primary recommendations included in the national reports and in addressing some of those challenges.   

This study was conducted within the framework of the Regional Migration Program: Mesoamerica-The Caribbean with financing from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State of the United States.  For more information on this study, contact Fabio Jimenez,, IOM Technical Specialist.