ILO raises alarm over global unemployment- says 202 million to be unemployed by the end of 2012
By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh
As Ghana joined the rest of the world to celebrate Workers’ Day, 1st May 2012 (yesterday), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has downgraded its Global Employment Outlook forecast for 2012 and 2013.
The Geneva-based organisation revised upwards global unemployment rates to 6.1 per cent this year and 6.2 per cent in the next year, depicting an increase of 0.1 percentage point in each year.
The figures paint a bleak picture also over the medium term with unemployment expected to remain at over 6 per cent until 2016. The outlook entitled ‘Global Employment Trends, Preventing a deeper jobs crisis’, was released in Geneva, Switzerland also revealed that global unemployment is expected to hit 202 million by 2012, up 2 million from the previous forecast. 2013 figures are revised upwards by 4 million. Advanced economies and East Asia are wholly responsible for the revised increases in unemployment levels with some compensating gains in two other regions, namely South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
This is a noticeable upward revision of global unemployment in comparison to the ILO’s projections of September 2011 when ILO forecast a global unemployment rate of 6 per cent and noted that it would remain virtually unchanged from this rate going forward but still well above its pre-crisis rate of 5.4 per cent.
The reason for ILO’s spring 2012 downgrade of the employment outlook is the worsening global economic outlook, starting with a serious slowdown in economic growth in advanced economies in the third quarter of 2011. As a consequence, in April 2012, the GDP growth forecast for 2012 has been revised down from 4 per cent to 3.5 per cent, and for 2013 from 4.5 per cent to 4.1 per cent, according the latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) of International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The revision in the outlook of growth and employment presents a dire picture of the global macroeconomy. Following a short recovery in 2010, global prospects have weakened substantially, and global policy, after an initial coordinated stimulus, appears adrift. Even then, the pickup in GDP growth in 2010 brought down the unemployment rate merely by 0.2 per cent from its crisis peak of 6.2 per cent in 2009.
The rise in unemployment is more pronounced in advanced economies where the slowdown in growth takes its toll on the labour market. The unemployment rate in these economies is projected to surge from 8.5 per cent in 2011 to 9.1 per cent in 2012, and 9.4 per cent in 2013.
While developing and emerging economies are less affected, they too, face a challenge in their labour markets: in East Asia, unemployment rates are projected to rise from 4.2 per cent in 2011 to 4.4 per cent by 2013; in South East Asia from 4.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent ; in South Asia from 3.8 per cent to 3.9 per cent ; in Latin America from 7.1 per cent to 7.2 per cent ; and in the Middle East from 10.2 to 10.5 per cent. Forecasts for the number of job seekers show a similar trend.
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