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The employment challenge

Dec 08, 2009

International Labour Organisation’s publication World of Work Report 2009: Global Jobs Crisis and Beyond emphasises the continuation of fiscal measures for job recovery worldwide. It recommends that investing in environment could be a potential source of job creation and for achieving sustainable, fairer global economy.

World of Work Report 2009: Global Jobs Crisis and Beyond

Publisher: International Labour Organisation, 2009

The world economy is exhibiting encouraging signs of a recovery. The IMF now predicts over 3% economic growth for 2010, with Brazil, China and India leading the economic rebound.


This report shows that despite major achievements, the global jobs crisis is not over and it could even worsen unless adequate action is taken.

Firstly, the jobs crisis is much larger in size than unemployment figures suggest. unemployment is only one dimension of the jobs crisis. Given job retention and usual lags in hiring decisions, the initial stages of the economic rebound will entail little job creation.

Employment in high GDP percapita countries will not return to pre-crisis levels before 2013. In emerging and developing countries, employment levels could start recovering from 2010, but will not reach pre-crisis levels before 2011.

Second, and more fundamentally, there is a significant risk that the jobs crisis will have long-lasting negative social and economic implications. The Report estimates that almost 43 million workers are at-risk of exclusion from the labour market – because, if the right programmes are not put in place or existing ones are phased out, individuals could shift to long-term joblessness or drop out of the labour market entirely.

It is therefore crucial to avoid premature or ill-conceived exit strategies. Public debts have increased significantly – reflecting both the bail out of the financial system and fiscal stimulus measures. So governments and social partners face the twin challenge of addressing the jobs crisis while avoiding an unsustainable aggravation of fiscal goals.

However, the Report shows that badly shaped spending cuts now would hit many existing jobs which were saved thanks to earlier stimulus measures but are still at risk. Such an early exit would also postpone employment recovery and would aggravate the risk of long-term joblessness, labour market exclusion and employment informality.

The document also brings out the significance of investing in the environment as a potential source of new jobs. If a price on CO2 emissions was imposed – at a level close to what is internationally suggested – and if the resulting revenues were used to cut labour taxes, then employment would rise by 0.5% by 2014.

This is equivalent to over 14.3 million net new jobs for the world economy as a whole. Therefore, programmes that support labour market transitions and skills are needed to make new jobs a reality. Green policies need to be implemented hand-in-hand with decent work policies.

Source : ILO
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