Mexico's economic structure

sun21oct2007—42w294d80%— 22h17m00s—0utc

What structure would you give to Mexico’s 2006 GDP, the wealth it generated in a year? Just gather your prejudices, take a guess, and try to put it into numbers.

Mexico’s 2006 GDP Structure

100 %

Personally, I believe I would have said something very much like many of my friends, 30% for agriculture, 50% for industry, and 20% for services. We’re a nation of corn and maquiladoras, aren’t we? Plus, services are the fancy future of advanced knowledge economies, aren’t they?

Imagine then my surprise when I read the CIA’s World Factbook 2006 estimates:

Mexico’s 2006 GDP Structure (estimates)

Agriculture 3.9%
Industry: 25.7%
Services: 70.5%

Services aren’t the future, they’re already, the overwhelming bulk of our present. Agriculture is a wealth blip, half the percentage of tourism (which according to Sectur was 7.8% of the 2004 GDP)). Industry is important, a quarter of our wealth, but it is clearly not our thing. Our thing is services. We’re a service economy!

The second shock came when I learned the US’ corresponding stats.

United States’ 2006 GDP Structure (estimates)

Agriculture 0.9%
Industry: 20.4%
Services: 78.6%

That’s right, we’ve pretty much the same structure as the most advanced economy in the world. As the most advanced economies in fact, they’re all remarkably similar to each other:

European Union’s 2006 GDP Structure (estimates)

Agriculture 2.1%
Industry: 27.3%
Services: 70.5%

Japan’s 2006 GDP Structure (estimates)

Agriculture 1.6%
Industry: 25.3%
Services: 73.1%

On the other hand, Mexico’s often mentioned Latin American rival, Brazil, has a distinct structure, more like one I would have expected of Mexico (and yet notice how sevices still account for just over half the wealth):

Brazil’s 2006 GDP Structure (estimates)

Agriculture 8%
Industry: 38%
Services: 54%

The sad difference between Mexico and the first world, other than the obvious detail of productivity (Mexico’s nominal per capita is one fifth the US’s), is quickly evinced by comparing wealth and labor structures.

Mexico’s structure (estimates)
2006 GDP2004 Labor


US’ structure (estimates)
2006 GDP2004 Labor


The labor figures are from INEGI, Banxico, US Census Bureau, and the Department of Commerce. I took them from Sergio Aguayo’s Almanaque Mexico-Estados Unidos. What they reaveal is the Mexican disproportion, particularly brutal in agriculture where one 5th of the population creates one 25th of the wealth.

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