The Macroeconomic Goals
Nicaragua's current inflation rate of 8.1% appears a bit high. While it is a little bit higher than ideal, it is right about where it should be for a developing country. It's political ally, Venezuela is suffering from a huge inflation rate of 26.1%, which doesn't even compare to Nicaragua. So, it's not ideal, but it isn't a huge area of concern as Nicaragua continues to grow.
At a rate of 7.3% unemployment, it wouldn't appear that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. Especially knowing that Haiti is the poorest and their unemployment rate is OVER 40%. Nicaragua did report, however, an underemployment rate of 46.5% in 2008. This says a lot about the country. A huge portion of the population is "self-employed," meaning they sell whatever they can in the street from day to day, but have no guaranteed income. In theory, many of these workers are really unemployed, though they don't fall in that category. Unemployment is just about equal amongst men and women in Nicaragua. Basically, Nicaragua's 7.3% unemployment does not tell the truth about what's going on there, and this is a huge concern.
Nicaragua's real GDP is $19.12 billion. This is extremely low. It's neighbor, Costa Rica, which is geographically much smaller, has a GDP of $55.73 billion. That is nearly tripling Nicaragua's GDP. Only Haiti has a lower GDP with about $12.5 billion. Even worse, the GDP per capita in Nicaragua is $3,200. Nobody else even comes close to a number so low besides Haiti. While Costa Rica's GDP is not even 3 times larger than Nicaragua's, its per capita GDP nearly quadruples that of Nicaragua. As we have learned, this is a very poor country; ranking in at 130th for real GDP and 170th in the world for per capita GDP. Why the big difference? There are a ton of people living in Nicaragua, and with such a large percent being severely undermployed, there's just not enough to go around.
Nicaragua has a healthy growth rate for a developing country at 4.7%. This has been pretty consistent throughout the last decade, except for the global economic collapse in 2009 when it had a growth rate of -1.5%. Compared to other countries, it is growing at an average rate. Haiti has had a large growth rate as of late because of the rebuilding after the earthquake, but usually they experience little to no growth. Although Nicaragua appears to be growing steadily, because of political corruption, that money somehow doesn't make it to the pockets of the people.
Underemployment is clearly the biggest issue that Nicaragua is facing. Unemployment statistics can always be skewed by many factors, but after living in Nicaragua for 2 years and seeing everything first hand, it became clear that unemployment and underemployment are huge areas of concern for this country's economy. The poverty doesn't lie and as Nicaraguans continue to struggle finding work that provides for their basic needs, the country will continue having a tough time ever getting out of their situation.