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Excerpted from the Panama Career Guide

General Trends

Considered the ‘Hub of the Americas,’ Panama is located at the southern end of Central America and is bordered by Colombia and Costa Rica. Its capital is Panama City.

The government is stable and democratic, and the country is one of the world’s highest-rated emerging countries. Panama’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product – a measure of a country’s wealth) growth is the highest in Latin America and has averaged 8.5 percent growth over the past decade. Inflation is low, partly because the country’s currency, the balboa (PAB), is tied to the US dollar (USD). The USD circulates freely, and the economy is growing, driven mainly by public and private infrastructure projects.

Employment Outlook

  • The unemployment rate is 4.3 percent. Although unemployment is low in the general population, it is high among youth.
  • Approximately 39 percent of the population works in the informal sector.
  • Panama’s labor market is characterized by a shortage of skilled workers and a glut of unskilled workers.

Areas of Job Promise

Panama’s main economic drivers are the mining, construction, finance, real estate, and transport and communications industries.


Central America boasts 285 multinational companies operating in the region, employing more than 87,000 bilingual people. Panama is emerging as a regional hub for call centers. Its sizeable English-speaking population makes it an ideal location for outsourcing call center operations.


Panama, along with Costa Rica, offers the highest salaries in Central America, although salaries are still low compared to other regions of the world. Average professional salaries are between 500 and 800 USD monthly.

The average annual wage in Panama is 7,751 USD. Panama’s distribution of wealth is the second-worst in Latin America.

This is just a sample of what you'll find in the complete Panama guide.

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