The construction of the first Metro line involves 3,000 jobs, the redevelopment of the Canal another 6,000 and other infrastructure projects raise the total to 34,000 direct jobs which will be created by 2011.
According to Minerva Betancourt's article in Prensa.com, "According to analysts and experts in labor market, the number of people trained is not growing on par with the projects, and it is likely that by 2013 the demand will exceed the offer. The director of Insight Economy, Jovany Morales, estimated that starting next year there will be a "bottleneck" and that 2014 will be a critical year. "
The problem is that the labor which is needed needs to be qualified. The Panamanian government is beginning to show signs of willingness to import from abroad.
Projections are that for the five year period between 2015-2020 there will be a shortfall of 70,000 workers in the sectors of construction, logistics, tourism and agriculture.
According to the National Competitiveness Center, in the specified period there will be a shortage of workers especially in the logistics sector, where they will need at least 35,000 technicians, ie 49.5%, while in the construction area demand will be for around 28,000 people, representing 40.3%. In the case of the tourism sector it is estimated that it will require approximately 4,113 technicians, ie 5.7% and in agriculture about 3,203, the remaining 4.5%.
Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador attract investment based on the exploitation of natural resources and unskilled, but cheap, labor.
A report by the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (ICEF), reveals that Central America recorded last year $9.70 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), with Panama and Costa Rica being the recipients of about 60% of these flows.