Global joblessness worsens, to hit 5.8% in 2017

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Fresh 3.4 million jobs would be lost in 2017 bringing the global joblessness rate to 5.8 from 5.7 per cent recorded in 2016, a new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has sad.

The report, which was made available to The Guardian by the global labour body, submitted that the number of unemployed persons globally in 2017 is forecast to stand at just over 201 million – with an additional rise of 2.7 million expected in 2018 – as the pace of labour force growth outstrips job creation.

The report is named, ‘ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2017 (WESO)’.

Commenting on the findings of the report, the Director General of ILO, Guy Ryder, said: “We are facing the twin challenge of repairing the damage caused by the global economic and social crisis and creating quality jobs for the tens of millions of new labour market entrants every year.”

The ILO chief stressed that economic growth continues to disappoint and underperform – both in terms of levels and the degree of inclusion, which paints a worrisome picture for the global economy and its ability to generate enough jobs.

“Let alone quality jobs. Persistent high levels of vulnerable forms of employment combined with clear lack of progress in job quality – even in countries where aggregate figures are improving – are alarming. We need to ensure that the gains of growth are shared in an inclusive manner,” he added.

The report shows that vulnerable forms of employment – i.e. contributing family workers and own account workers – are expected to stay above 42 per cent of total employment, accounting for 1.4 billion people worldwide in 2017.

The ILO Senior Economist and lead author of the report, Steven Tobin, said: “In fact, almost one in two workers in emerging countries are in vulnerable forms of employment, rising to more than four in five workers in developing countries.”

As a result, the number of workers in vulnerable employment is projected to grow by 11 million per year, with Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected.

The authors of the report also warned that unemployment challenges are particularly acute in Latin America and the Caribbean where the scars of the recent recession will have an important carry-over effect in 2017, as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa which is also in the midst of its lowest level of growth in over two decades. Both regions are confronted with strong growth in the numbers of individuals entering working age.

By contrast, unemployment should fall in 2017 among developed countries bringing their rate down to 6.2 per cent (from 6.3 per cent). But the pace of improvement is slowing and there are signs of structural unemployment. In both Europe and North America, long-term unemployment remains stubbornly high compared to pre-crisis levels, and in the case of Europe, it continues to climb despite the receding unemployment rates.

Another key trend highlighted in the report is that the reductions in working poverty are slowing which endangers the prospects of eradicating poverty as set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The number of workers earning less than $3.10 per day is even expected to increase by more than five million over the next two years in developing countries.

At the same time, it warns that global uncertainty and the lack of decent jobs are, among other factors, underpinning social unrest and migration in many parts of the world.

Between 2009 and 2016, the share of the working age population willing to migrate abroad has increased in almost every region of the world, except for Southern Asia, South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific. The largest rise took place in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Arab States.

Turning to policy recommendations, the authors estimate that a coordinated effort to provide fiscal stimulus and an increase in public investment that takes into account each country’s fiscal space, would provide an immediate jump-start to the global economy and reduce global unemployment in 2018 by close to two million compared to our baseline forecasts.

However, such efforts should be accompanied by international cooperation.

“Boosting economic growth in an equitable and inclusive manner requires a multi-facetted policy approach that addresses the underlying causes of secular stagnation, such as income inequality, while taking into account country specificities,” Tobin explained.

Providing an insight into the Nigerian experience, a Professor of Technology Management at the Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Francis Ogbimi, said Nigerian economy has always been in stagflation or depression status.

He argued that to move the Nigerian economy from depression, government must mobilize every able Nigerian for employment, learning and creation of intrinsic value and wealth.

He added: “That was what China did as from 1949 after wallowing in poverty for more about 3000 years. Large increase in employment is also the solution to the economic crises in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. These European nations de-industrialized, decades ago, when they embarked on massive retrenchment. Large increase in employment will move national economies from the undesirable position. One towards the desirable position. Two according to our theory of employment.

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