GENEVA - The world faces the “urgent challenge” of creating 600 million productive jobs over the next decade in order to generate sustainable growth and maintain social cohesion, according to the annual report on global employment by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
“After three years of continuous crisis conditions in global labour markets and against the prospect of a further deterioration of economic activity, there is a backlog of global unemployment of 200 million,” said the ILO in its annual report titled “Global Employment Trends 2012: Preventing a deeper jobs crisis”.
It said more than 400 million new jobs will be needed over the next decade to absorb the estimated 40 million growth of the labour force each year.
The Global Employment Trends Report also said the world faces the additional challenge of creating decent jobs for the estimated 900 million workers living with their families below the US$ 2 a day poverty line, mostly in developing countries.
“Despite strenuous government efforts, the jobs crisis continues unabated, with one in three workers worldwide – or 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 job creation in the real economy must become our number one priority”.
The report says the recovery that started in 2009 has been short-lived and that there are still 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 %) and 2010 (60.2 %).
At the same time, there are nearly 29 million fewer people in the labour force now than would be expected based on pre-crisis trends. If these discouraged workers were counted as unemployed, then global unemployment would swell from the current 197 million to 225 million, and the unemployment rate would rise from 6 % to 6.9 %.
The report paints three scenarios for the employment situation in the future. The baseline projection shows an additional 3 million unemployed for 2012, rising to 206 million by 2016.
If global growth rates fall below 2 %, then unemployment would rise to 204 million in 2012. In a more benign scenario, assuming a quick resolution of the euro debt crisis, global unemployment would be around 1 million lower in 2012.
Young people continue to be among the hardest hit by the jobs crisis. Judging by the present course, the report says, there is little hope for a substantial improvement in their near-term employment prospects.