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Crisis triggering joblessness

Jan 29, 2009

The global recession could cost 50 million people worldwide their jobs, says ILO’s Global Employment Trends Report 2009. Taking forward its decent work agenda, the report calls upon governments to help people through productive investment, income support and active labour market policies.

Global Employment Trends Report 2009

Publisher: International Labour Organization, January 2009

The global economic crisis is expected to lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed, working poor and those in vulnerable employment.

Based on new developments in the labour market and depending on the timeliness and effectiveness of recovery efforts, the report says global unemployment in 2009 could increase by a range of 18 million to 30 million workers, and more than 50 million if the situation continues to deteriorate.

GET Report 2009

The ILO report also said that in this last scenario some 200 million workers, mostly in developing economies, could be pushed into extreme poverty.

The lowest unemployment rate was once again observed in East Asia at 3.8%, followed by South Asia and South-East Asia & the Pacific where respectively 5.4% and 5.7% of the labour force was unemployed in 2008. The report shows that the three Asian regions – South Asia, South-East Asia & the Pacific and East Asia – accounted for 57% of global employment creation in 2008.

According to the study, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia stand out as regions with extremely harsh labour market conditions and with the highest shares of working poor of all regions. Although the trend has been declining over the past ten years, around four-fifths of the employed were still classified as working poor in these regions in 2007.

This report utilises working poor and those in vulnerable employment (i.e. unpaid contributing family workers and own-account workers) which are workers most likely to be characterized by low and insecure employment, low earnings and productivity to help better understand labour market trends in developing economies.

In many developing countries well over half of the workforce is employed in conditions that fall short of decent work, and breaking out of such situations is at the core of the global development challenge set out in the Millennium Declaration and its poverty-reducing goals.

The trends summarised in this report are therefore extremely worrying and serve to highlight the importance of an internationally coordinated effort to stop the slowdown and start the global economy on to a much more sustainable path.

The report recommends the following policy measures:

  • Wider coverage of unemployment benefits and insurance schemes, re-skilling redundant workers and protecting pensions from devastating declines in financial markets
  • Public investment in infrastructure and housing, community infrastructure and green jobs, including through emergency public works
  • Support to small and medium enterprises
  • Social dialogue at enterprise, sectoral and national levels
Source : ILO
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