Tens of millions to lose jobs in 2009: ILO

January 28th, 2009 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangkok/Geneva, Jan 28 (DPA) Global unemployment would increase by 18 million to 51 million people this year from 2007 figures, depending on the extent and length of the economic crisis, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) predicted Wednesday.”We are now facing a global jobs crisis,” the UN organization’s director general Juan Somavia said in Geneva. “Progress in poverty reduction is unravelling, and middle classes worldwide are weakening. The political and security implications are daunting.”

The organization has painted three scenarios for global unemployment in 2009, ranging from bad to worst.

“In all scenarios, there will be an increase in the global unemployment rate in 2009, in particular in the developed economies,” the ILO said in its annual Global Employment Trends report.

Under its most optimistic scenario, based on the International Monetary Fund’s November economic projection for world economic growth, this year would finish with 18 million more unemployed people than at the end of 2007, with a global unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.

But the numbers could rise to 30 million or even 51 million, under the organization’s second and third scenarios, which envision a much slower economic recovery.

For the Asia-Pacific region, the three scenarios suggested unemployment increases of 8 million, 15 million or 27 million.

While unemployment would reach higher levels in developed countries, the impact on deepening poverty would be felt hardest in the developing world, especially Asia, the organization said.

Under its third scenario, about 200 million workers could be pushed into extreme poverty with incomes as low as $1.25 a day, of which 140 million would be in Asia.

“It is evident that the world is facing an unprecedented crisis that calls for creative solutions,” the organization said.

It urged governments worldwide to put an emphasis on employment creation in their fiscal stimulus packages and to improve social protection systems for workers and the unemployed.

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