Regional figures are for Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, the region's only producers of primary aluminum.
Such posts are considered key to arranging support from political parties in government coalitions.
Companies in the sectors were shedding much fewer jobs last year than in 2016 as the economy gradually recovered.
Brazil and Colombia want to link up Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance, while negotiations continue with European officials to cement the long-delayed EU-Mercosur deal.
The country has 12 months to go before it is scheduled to complete most of the infrastructure needed for the 2019 Pan American Games, a project that has caused headaches for the government due to years of delays.
However, the tide seems to be changing, says one of Brazil's largest startup accelerators.
The US Federal Reserve's decision to hike its funds rate once again adds to pressure on Mexico's central bank to act, despite the benchmark already set at a year-long high.