World needs 50m new jobs
The global employment situation is so critical, says a new International Labour Organisation report released yesterday and, adds ominously, that recovery is not expected any time soon.
The World of Work Report 2012: Better Jobs for a Better Economy – published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) – says that around 50 million jobs are urgently needed compared to the situation that existed before the global economic crisis.
The World of Work Report 2012 says that millions of jobs are urgently needed compared to the situation that existed before the global economic crisis
The situation is said to be worst in Africa, where state welfare is non-existent the demon pair of corruption and poor governance has eroded any meaningful gains in the employment sector.
According to the report’s Social Unrest Index, 57 out of 106 countries with available information showed a risk of increased social unrest in 2011, compared to 2010. The regions with the largest increases are sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.
All is not doom and gloom though; East Africa’s largest economy Kenya has managed to scale down the number of unemployed youth through massive job creation in the infrastructure sector, particularly roads, by-passes and fly-overs.
Through loans from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Chinese government, Nairobi has undertaken some of the biggest infrastructure projects seen in Africa in recent years.
The same case applies to Rwanda, which recent reports indicate that last year 50,000 jobs were created through youth empowerment programmes and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Information from the Ministry of Public Service and Labour in the department of Labour, indicates Rwanda’s workforce grew by an average of 125,000 jobs per year over the last 5 years.
Tanzania and Uganda too have done their share in cutting back on unemployment, according to figures released by the East African Community.
ILO says the Arab Spring that started a year ago in Tunisia, where it led to a regime change before spreading on to Egypt and Libya, has not yet come to sub-Saharan Africa because of the fact that the youth still have hope.
But the worsening global economy, warns the organisation, is likely to worsen the global jobs crisis due to several factors, including the fact that many governments, especially in advanced economies, have shifted their priority to a combination of fiscal austerity and tough labour market reforms.
Such measures are having “devastating” consequences on labour markets in general and job creation in particular, ILO stated in a news release received by The New Times.
“The narrow focus of many Eurozone countries on fiscal austerity is deepening the jobs crisis and could even lead to another recession in Europe,” says Raymond Torres, the Director of the ILO Institute for International Labour Studies and lead author of the report.
“Countries that have chosen job-centred macroeconomic policies have achieved better economic and social outcomes,” he added. “Many of them have also become more competitive and have weathered the crisis better than those that followed the austerity path. We can look carefully at the experience of those countries and draw lessons.”
Another factor leading to a worsening jobs crisis is that many jobseekers in advanced economies are demoralised and are losing skills, something which is affecting their chances of finding a new job. In addition, small companies have limited access to credit, which in turn, is depressing investment and preventing employment creation.
“In these countries, especially in Europe, job recovery is not expected before the end of 2016 – unless there is a dramatic shift in policy direction,” according to ILO.
Other factors include the fact that, in most advanced economies, many of the new jobs are precarious and there exists the possibility of increased social unrest in many parts of the world. The report argues that if a job-friendly policy-mix of taxation and increased expenditure in public investment and social benefits is put in place, approximately two million jobs could be created over the next year in advanced economies.
Among the other findings of the report is that employment rates have only increased in six of the 36 advanced economies since 2007 – Austria, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, Malta and Poland – and that youth unemployment rates have increased in about 80 per cent of advanced countries and two-thirds of developing countries.
Contact email: james.tasamba[at]newtimes.co.rw