Global unemployment to reach 200 million, says ILO

20 Jan 16

Global unemployment looks set to rise to 200 million people by 2017, the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation has concluded.


The group called for urgent steps to boost jobs after its projections suggest the global job crisis is going to worsen over the next two years, especially in emerging economies.

ILO director general Guy Ryder said a slowdown in emerging economies coupled with the sharp decline in commodity prices was having a dramatic effect on the world of work.

“Many working women and men are having to accept low paid jobs, both in emerging and developing economies and also, increasingly in developed countries,” he said.
“We need to take urgent action to boost the number of decent work opportunities or we risk intensified social tensions.”

The ILO estimates unemployment stood at 197.1 million in 2015, 27 million higher than pre-crisis levels. In 2016 it is forecast to rise by about 2.3 million and by a further 1.1 million the following year.

While it noted the employment rate in developed economies had fallen modestly, from 7.1% in 2014 to 6.7% in 2015, it said greater improvements are needed to close the employment gap. 

For emerging economies like China and Russia, as well as those that produce oil, the employment outlook has weakened, the ILO said.

Raymond Torres, director of the ILO Research Department, said this is due to an unstable economic environment associated with volatile capital flows, still dysfunctional financial markets and low global demand. This was deterring investment and job creation.

“Policy makers need to focus more on strengthening employment policies and tackling excessive inequalities,” he added. “There is much evidence that well-designed labour market and social policies are essential for boosting economic growth and addressing the jobs crisis. Almost eight years after the start of the global crisis, a strengthening of that policy approach is urgently needed.”

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