Sat, Oct 13, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Unemployment 30m higher than before crisis: ILO

AFP, TOKYO

There are now 30 million more people without jobs around the world than before the global financial crisis began, the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in remarks published yesterday.

The figures come amid a growing debate over the merits of austerity, especially in Europe, where painful budget cuts have pushed unemployment levels as high as 25 percent in some countries, including debt-hit Greece and Spain.

“Global unemployment is still more than 30 million higher than before the crisis, and nearly 40 million more women and men have stopped looking for work,” ILO director-general Guy Ryder said.

He said about a third of the more than 200 million unemployed around the world are under 25.

“With the world’s workforce growing by around 40 million a year, we face large and growing decent-work deficits stretching out years ahead,” he said.

“Of those employed, 900 million women and men are unable to earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the US$2 a day poverty line,” Ryder added.

Ryder said that figure would be 55 percent lower if the poverty reduction trend seen before the crisis had been maintained.

“This means that the damage of austerity measures has been more profound than previously thought,” he said.

“There is now an urgent need to revisit the time-lines for fiscal balances, taking a much longer view of the time it will take to repair the damage done by the financial excesses of the pre-crisis period,” he added.

On Thursday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said too much austerity, too quickly, could cause difficulties, particularly if a number of economies were chasing targets at the same time.

Lagarde also warned that while the world economy was still expanding, “it’s certainly not growing as it should to create jobs around the world,” adding that it was crucial “to make sure there are jobs available for young people.”

This week the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said unemployment in advanced countries stood at 7.9 percent, or about 47.8 million people, 13.1 million more than at the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.

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