Thursday, July 18, 2013

Unemployment: Ambitious job creation policies needed to tackle unemployment in G20 countries

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. Photo: ILO/M. Crozet

UN - 17 July 2013 – Five years after the global financial crisis, unemployment remains at “unacceptably high levels” in the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies, the United Nations labour agency said today, calling for new policies to create jobs and sustainable growth.

“We cannot expect significant improvement in the employment situation unless countries undertake more ambitious policies to address the jobs deficit,” the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, said at a press conference in Moscow, Russia.

Mr. Ryder presented the statistical update, “Short-term labour market outlooks and key challenges in G20 countries,” which was prepared by the ILO and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for the meeting of G20 Labour and Employment Ministers.

According to the update, unemployment is up in half of the G20 countries, and down only marginally in the other half. Unemployment rates are significantly higher among young people and their participation in the labour market has also decreased, which could have worrying long-term implications. In addition, the update states that income and earning inequality have been on the rise in many G20 countries.

Against this background, Mr. Ryder stressed the need for measures aimed at strengthening domestic demand in G20 countries and rebalancing global aggregate demand.

“Experience suggests that high employment levels and inclusive growth can be achieved through a well-designed combination of supportive macroeconomic policies and employment, labour market and social protection policies that are designed to spread the benefits of growth,” he said.

Successful policies that have already been implemented by some G20 countries include increasing the level of investment in infrastructure, enhancing the level and coverage of minimum wages, expanding the coverage of social protection systems, and improving the availability of credit, among others.

“The G20 gained its legitimacy in 2009 through bold and decisive collective action,” Mr. Ryder said. “We are again at a moment when the G20 must take bold and decisive action to turn labour markets around. The world is looking to the G20 to agree on an ambitious and coordinated policy framework that can stimulate creation of more and better jobs.”

The G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union.