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ILO: Global Unemployment Rose By 4 Million In 2012

1/22/2013 12:51 AM ET

Global unemployment has risen substantially in 2012 and that the situation is likely to worsen further in the current year due to continuing economic insecurity and lack of policies that encourage hiring, warns the International Labor Organization (ILO).

In its annual Global Employment Trends report released on Monday, the U.N. labor agency said the number of jobless across the world rose by four million to 197 million, implying that almost six percent of the world's workforce were without a job in 2012.

"An uncertain economic outlook, and the inadequacy of policy to counter this, has weakened aggregate demand, holding back investment and hiring," ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said in a news release accompanying the report.

"This has prolonged the labor market slump in many countries, lowering job creation and increasing unemployment duration even in some countries that previously had low unemployment and dynamic labor markets," he added.

The ILO report singled out impact of the global unemployment crisis on the world's youth, who it warned risk losing vital professional and social skills as the length of their joblessness continues to grow.

According to ILO, about 35 percent of unemployed youth in advanced economies have been out of a job for six months or longer. It noted that continued failure to secure work directly impacts the long-term career prospects of the youth as their skills deteriorate over time. It said many of the youth get discouraged and leave the labor market altogether due to their inability to find jobs.

"This is a massive waste of the lives of young people and their talents, and extraordinarily damaging to the people themselves and their societies," Ryder noted.

With almost 74 million people in the 15 to 24 age group unemployed around the world, accounting for a 12.4 percent unemployment rate for the youth, job prospects for the world's younger workers are looking increasingly bleak, the report warned.

Ryder pointed out that regional differences in youth unemployment were likely to be marked, with the situation expected to improve slightly over the next five years in the developed economies. Nevertheless, he said emerging economies in Eastern Europe, East and South-East Asia and the Middle East would continue to see rising joblessness among its young labor force.

He stressed that international policy-makers should make sincere efforts to find a coordinated response for reversing the problem, and urged governments to establish coordinated retraining activities to help young people bridge the skills gap caused by extended bouts of joblessness.

"The global nature of the crisis means countries cannot resolve its impact individually and with domestic measures only," the ILO chief said.

The report called on policy-makers to engage in three areas crucial to employment generation, including injections of public investment into job-creating initiatives while private funding remains shy; addressing rising labor market mismatch problems through retraining and re-skilling program; and focusing action on youth joblessness.

"The high uncertainty, which is holding off investments and job creation, will not recede if countries come up with conflicting solutions. The costs of inactivity, of allowing long-term unemployment to grow and young people to disconnect further from society, would be far higher," Ryder cautioned in the press release.

by RTT Staff Writer

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