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G20 Countries - Warns of serious job shortfall by 2015

27 September 2011

The slow-down in the global economy could result in a massive jobs shortfall among G20 members by next year, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) warns in a joint study prepared with the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) at the request of the G20 for its labour ministerial meeting in Paris on 26-27 September 2011.

The statistical update prepared by the ILO and the OECD also says that at current employment growth rates of +1%, it won't be possible to recover the estimated -20 million jobs lost in the G20 since the crisis began in 2008.

ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia, commented "we must act now to reverse the slow-down in employment growth and make up for the jobs lost. It's absolutely essential to give priority to decent work, and to investment in the real economy, and for this to happen we need determined global co-operation. We need to return to the pledges of Pittsburgh and Seoul and the need to place quality jobs at the heart of the recovery."

The joint ILO/OECD statistical update study says employment would have to grow at an annual rate of at least +1.3% in order to return to the pre-crisis employment rate by 2015. Such a growth rate would generate some 21 million additional jobs per year.

However, the analysis also expresses concern that employment may in fact grow at a rate of just under +1% (+0.8%) until the end of 2012, resulting in a 40 million job shortfall in G20 countries next year and a much larger shortfall by 2015.

The meeting in Paris will bring together the Labour ministers of G20 countries to discuss the promotion of full employment, quality jobs and the respect for fundamental rights and principles at work, and better policy coherence at the multilateral level. The ILO Director-General will address the ministers on Monday.

Mr. Somavia said "we need investments to grow enterprises in the real economy and to generate decent work. Employment creation has to become a top macroeconomic priority. Labour ministries have a key role to play in that respect in preparing for the G20 Summit in Cannes in a few weeks."

The G20 ministerial will also consider recommendations on social protection contained in a new study prepared by the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group led by former Chilean President and Head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet. The report argues that the establishment of national social protection floors in every society is a feasible policy option and calls on the G20 to make this a genuine policy priority.

The report also shows how social protection has played a significant role during the crisis in some countries by protecting the poor and other vulnerable people, by helping to stabilise demand for goods and services, and by empowering people to seize economic opportunities. Beyond the crisis, nationally-shaped social protection floors have proven to be an effective tool for reducing poverty and inequality, as well as boosting inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Other key findings of the ILO-OECD report:

• While the unemployment rate has declined in the vast majority of G20 countries over the past year, it has done so only moderately. As a result, the overall number of unemployed is still at 200 million worldwide, close to the peak recorded at the depth of the Great Recession.

• At the country level, labour market performance has been highly differentiated. While some countries (Brazil, Germany and Indonesia) have seen strong growth in the employment rate and significant declines in the unemployment rate, others (Argentina, Australia and the Russian Federation) have shown little or no growth in the employment rate, whilst several others have seen persistent high unemployment rates (European Union, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, United States).

• A "lingering employment crisis" is also exacerbating structural problems in the form of high and mostly rising youth unemployment and a rising incidence of long-term unemployment. At the same time, the jobs crisis is affecting consumer demand, thus putting additional pressures on the overall weak recovery.

• There is a growing divide between workers with and without decent jobs. For example, in many advanced G20 economies, a significant and often growing share of the workforce is employed in informal, temporary work.

To read the full report please click here

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