One in three workers live in poverty

The global economy will have to create 600-million jobs in the next decade to meet the “urgent challenge” of tackling the legacy of unemployment left by recession and find work for those entering the labour force, according to the International Labour Organisation.

In its annual report on the global jobs market the organisation said three years of “continuous crisis conditions” had left 200-million people jobless. It estimated that a further 400-million jobs — 40-million a year — would be needed in the next decade to absorb growth in the international labour force.

The “Global Employment Trends 2012” report said that 900-million workers, mostly in developing countries, were living with their families on less than the $2-a-day global poverty line, half of them below the $1.25-a-day extreme poverty line. The organisation urged policymakers to take steps to create better-paid jobs.

“Despite strenuous government efforts, the jobs crisis continues unabated, with one in three workers worldwide — or an estimated 900-million people — either unemployed or living in poverty,” said Juan Somavia, the organisation’s director general. “Job creation in the real economy must become our number one priority.”

The organisation said the pick-up in employment after the deep slump of 2008-2009 had been short-lived and there were still 27-million more people unemployed than at the start of the crisis. The lack of jobs had resulted in some giving up hope of finding work and there were 29-million fewer people in the global workforce than would have been expected had the pre-crisis rate of employment growth continued.

The organisation said that if discouraged workers had been included, the global unemployment total would have been 225­million rather than 197-million, and the jobless rate would have been 6.9% rather than 6%.

Young people continue to be hardest hit by the lack of jobs, with almost 75-million of those aged between 15 and 24 out of work last year. —

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Larry Elliott
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