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Wed, Feb 16, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Global jobless rate falls

UNEMPLOYMENT Latin America and the Caribbean showed the strongest jobs growth last year, while rates in Europe and Central Asia remained unchanged


The number of employed people increased only slightly last year despite robust economic growth in some parts of the world, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said on Monday.

Worldwide, the number of people who got jobs drove unemployment rates down from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent. There were184.7 million people unemployed worldwide last year, down from 185.2 million people unemployed in 2003.

Latin America and the Caribbean showed the strongest job growth, where unemployment dropped from 9.3 percent in 2003 to 8.6 percent last year, the labor organization said.

The number of unemployed people in Europe and Central Asia remained unchanged at 35 million last year.

The ILO said the slight global decline in unemployment last year was the first since 2000.

World economic growth was rated at 5 percent last year, playing an important part in people receiving jobs, the organization said.

"While any global decline in unemployment is positive, we must not lose sight of the reality that employment creation still remains a major challenge for policy makers," said ILO director Juan Somavia.

"In other words, we need policies that encourage more employment-intensive growth," Somavia said.

The Geneva-based ILO report was made public at UN headquarters in New York and distributed at the 7th ILO European Regional meeting in Budapest, which opened on Monday for the next four days.

In the 25-member EU, there was only a slight decline in unemployment, from 7.4 percent to 7.2 percent for the same period.

In South Asia and the Pacific, unemployment declined from 6.5 percent to 6.4 percent. The unemployment rate remained unchanged in East Asia at 3.3 percent.

Unemployment rates remained unchanged in the Middle East and North Africa at 11.7 percent while edging up slightly in the sub-Saharan countries from 10 percent to 10.1 percent despite a 4.4 percent GDP growth rated registered last year.

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