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Help wanted: 600M jobs worldwide in next 10 years

/ 10:14 AM January 24, 2012

The global economy needs to generate 600 million productive jobs over the next decade to generate sustainable economic growth and maintain social cohesion in affected countries, an International Labor Organization (ILO) report on global employment said Monday.

The annual ILO report—titled “Global Employment Trends 2012: Preventing a Deeper Jobs Crisis”—said there was “a backlog of global unemployment of 200 million” since the world financial crisis struck in 2008, while more than 400 million new jobs would be needed over the next decade to absorb the estimated 40 million new workers that annually join the labor force.

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The report said that decent jobs were also needed for the estimated 900 million workers who lived with their families below the “$2 a day poverty line,” mostly in developing countries.

“Despite strenuous government efforts, the jobs crisis continues unabated with one in three workers worldwide—an estimated 1.1 billion people—either unemployed or living in poverty,” said ILO Director General Juan Somavia in a statement.

“What is needed is that jobs creation in the real economy must become our number one priority,” he said.

The ILO report said the economic recovery that started in 2009 was “short-lived” and there are now 27 million more unemployed workers than at the start of the crisis.

The fact that economies are not generating enough employment is reflected in the employment-to-population ratio (the proportion of the working-age population in employment), which suffered the largest decline on record between 2007 (61.2 percent) and 2010 (60.2 percent), the ILO said.

Young hardest hit

The report said young people continued to be among the hardest hit by the jobs crisis and that there was “little hope” for substantial improvement in their near-term employment prospects.

It said that 74.8 million youth aged 15-24 were unemployed in 2011, four million more since 2007.

Globally, young people were nearly three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. The global youth unemployment rate, at 12.7 percent, remained a full percentage point above the precrisis level, the report said.

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It also noted that there was “a marked slowdown” in the rate of progress in reducing the numbers of the working poor.

“Nearly 30 percent of all workers in the world—more than 900 million—were living with their families below the $2 poverty line in 2011, or about 55 million more than expected on the basis of precrisis trends, the ILO said.

“Of these 900 million working poor, about half were living below the $1.25 extreme poverty line,” it added.

The report also said that the number of workers in “vulnerable employment” globally in 2011 was estimated at 1.52 billion, an increase of 136 million since 2000 and of nearly 23 million since 2009.

“The labor productivity gap between the developed and developing worlds—an important indicator measuring the convergence of income levels across countries—has narrowed over the past two decades, but remains substantial,” the ILO said.

It noted that output per worker in the developed economies and European Union was $72,900 in 2011 versus an average of $13,600 in developing regions.

“These latest figures reflect the increasing inequality and continuous exclusion that millions of workers and their families are facing,” Somavia said.

Effective policies

“Whether we recover or not from this crisis will depend on how effective government policies ultimately are. And policies will only be effective as long as they have a positive impact on peoples’ lives,” he said.

The report called for “targeted measures” to support job growth and warned that additional public support measures alone “will not be enough to foster a sustainable recovery.”

“Policymakers must act decisively and in coordinated fashion to reduce the fear and uncertainty that are hindering private investment so that the private sector could restart the main engine of global jobs creation,” the report said.

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TAGS: Employment, Global Economy, ILO, International Labor Organization, Labor
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