Record 180 million unemployed worldwide, UN labour agency reports
Two years of economic slowdown has pushed the number of people without jobs to a record 180 million worldwide, with little prospect of any improvement in the global employment situation this year, according to a new report issued today by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO).
“The world employment situation is deteriorating dramatically,” ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said. “While tens of millions of people join the ranks of the unemployed or the working poor, uncertain prospects for a global economic recovery make a reversal of this trend unlikely in 2003.”
In the new study, “Global Employment Trends,” the ILO estimates that since 2000 the number of unemployed worldwide grew by 20 million. The weakness of labour markets has also reversed recent reductions in “working poverty” achieved in the late 1990s.
Particularly hard-hit have been women and youth, who often have jobs that are especially vulnerable to economic shocks, the report says. Unemployed workers pushed into informal jobs in search of work faced even more uncertainty due to the sector’s near total lack of unemployment or social security coverage.
“This deteriorating world employment picture and the prospect of a weak or delayed recovery is very disturbing,” Mr. Somavia said. “A continuation of these trends will dramatically increase the number of unemployed and working poor. A full-scale global recession could have grave consequences for the social and political stability of large parts of the world.”