Urban unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean will ebb again this year, from 7.3 percent to somewhere between 6.7 percent and 7 percent, two U.N. agencies said Tuesday in a joint report.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the International Labor Organization said that economic vulnerability has been reduced by counter-cyclical economic policies, including investment in infrastructure, emergency employment plans and stimulus for companies and social programs.

Nonetheless, the analysis said that these policies were generally the result of a short-term reaction, the reason they recommend institutionalizing the counter-cyclical focus to permit a rapid response to any new crisis that might arise.

The decrease in urban unemployment has been continual since 2002, when it was more than 11 percent, though the improvement has been unequal, since the reduction has taken place more in South American countries than in the northern areas of Latin America and, above all, the Caribbean.

In absolute terms, the number of employed in 2010 increased by 6.4 million people in urban areas of the region, while the number of jobless fell by 1 million to a total of 17.1 million people.

This year the decline is accelerating and could drop to below 7 percent, according to ECLAC and the ILO.

They also said that many countries show signs of improvement in job quality.

"Data on the evolution of regular jobs strongly reflects the recovery of economic activity," they said.

Specifically in Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua and Uruguay, regular employment increased by around 6 percent, while in Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and Peru it increased by between 3 percent and 5 percent.

At the same time, the relatively strong regional reactivation coincided with an increase in the percentage of urban employment by 0.8 percent, setting a historical record of 55.2 percent.