There are now two measures of the size of the labor force working in the informal economy in Mexico. The broader measure – 28.2 million people in the first quarter of this year - is the newer one, introduced in February with the publication of the fourth quarter 2012 unemployment statistics. The new methodology includes categories of workers who weren't counted in the existing measure of employment in the informal economy: household help, informal agricultural workers, and employees working in formal businesses, the government and institutions who weren't registered in the Social Security Institute (IMSS).
The traditional methodology, now called “employment in the informal sector”, put the number of people working in the informal sector at 13.7 million or 28.7% of the working population in the first quarter of this year. The new measure (the “informal labor rate 1”) more than doubled the number of people working in the informal economy, adding 14.5 million people to the informal economy.
Almost three of every five (59.0%) Mexicans worked in the informal economy in the first quarter. Interestingly, the largest percentage of the 14.5 million people who are now counted as part of the informal economy are not maids or agricultural workers. People working informally in companies, the government (!) and institutions accounted for 23.2% of total workers in the informal economy. That's nearly half (45.4%) of the increment from the broader definition. Wouldn't it be interesting to see how many of those workers are in the government? Agricultural workers accounted for a fifth (20.6%) of the grand total (40.1% of the increment) and household help, 7.5% of the grand total (14.5% of the increment).