The International Labor
Organization is predicting between 210 million and 239 million people around the
world will be unemployed in 2009. That corresponds to global unemployment rates
of 6.5 and 7.4 percent respectively. The organization has launched a report on
"Tackling The Global Jobs Crisis" in advance of the ILO annual conference, which
begins June 3.
The report presents a bleak picture of increasing job
loss in every region of the world. It projects an increase of between 39 and 59
million unemployed since 2007. And, says 200 million more workers are at risk of
joining the ranks of people living on less than $2 a day.
The director general of the International Labor
Organization, Juan Somavia, says the economies of some countries that have
introduced fiscal stimulus packages are beginning to show faint signs of
recovery. But, he says it is hard to know when unemployment will bottom
"Based on the experience of previous crises, we know that
unemployment returns to pre-crisis levels at a slow and uneven pace and on
average, it can take four to five years after economic recovery starts or
pre-crisis unemployment levels to be recuperated," said Somavia.
Report says 2009 will represent the worst global performance on record in terms
of job creation. It notes 45 million new job seekers enter the global labor
market each year. This means that in the period between 2009 and 2015, around
300 million new jobs will have to be created simply to absorb the growth in the
Somavia says everything points to a global jobs crisis. And,
that, he says is why the ILO is proposing a global jobs pact, which is intended
to reduce the lag time between economic recovery and unemployment
He says this is not a jobs program, but a policy approach, that
aims to make sure stimulus measures and other government policies better address
the needs of people who need protection and work. He says it also is based on a
productive vision of crisis management through investment and enterprise
"The financial system lost its way and we cannot go back to
recent business as usual," said Somavia. "So, we need a financial system that is
well regulated, manages risk appropriately and must now be at the service of the
real economy so it can create sustainable enterprises and decent work."
Among its key findings, the report notes the developed economies and
European Union are likely to account for 35 to 40 percent of the total global
increase in unemployment, despite accounting for less than 16 percent of the
global labor force.
The ILO projects an increase in unemployment of up to
25 percent in the Middle East and up to 13 percent in North Africa this year.
And, it says, in sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 73 percent of the region's
workers are in vulnerable employment. It adds this could rise to more than 77
percent this year.