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The UN’s labour agency on Tuesday warned of the threat of a “jobless recovery,” as it revealed that global unemployment had surged in the economic crisis to leave a record 212 million people jobless.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) forecast that unemployment rates would remain high through 2010 despite the economic recovery and continue rising in developed economies, while in east Asia they would moderate quicker.
“As the World Economic Forum gathers at Davos, it is clear that avoiding a jobless recovery is the political priority of today,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia ahead of the annual meeting of corporate and political elites.
“We need the same decisiveness that saved banks now applied to save and create jobs and livelihoods of people. This can be done through strong convergence of public policies and private investment,” he added.
The ILO report also said the average global unemployment rate reached 6.6 per cent last year. “The number of jobless worldwide reached nearly 212 million in 2009 following an unprecedented increase of 34m compared to 2007.”
The report was compiled before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast on Tuesday that world economic growth would climb to a better than expected 3.9 per cent this year after last year’s contraction.
Young entrants to the jobs market face a particularly hard ride after the number of unemployed youth worldwide increased by 10.2m in 2009 compared to 2007, the largest increase since 1991 according to the ILO.
The report said that while in east Asia unemployment stood at 4.4 per cent by the end of 2009, it exceeded 10 per cent in central and south eastern Europe, former Soviet states and North Africa. Although workers in the European Union and developed economies formed less than 16 percent of the global workforce, they accounted for 40 percent of the growth in unemployment since 2007, the ILO said.
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