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Global employment prospects bleak until 2018: ILO

The weak global economic recovery has failed to lead to an improvement in global labor markets, and is expected to rise by a further 13 million people by 2018, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday.

In its 2014 Global Employment Trends report, the ILO said that the number of unemployed people had risen by almost 5 million people to almost 202 million in 2013 compared with the year before.

Philippe Desmazes | AFP | Getty Images

"If current trends continue, global unemployment is set to worsen further, albeit gradually, reaching more than 215 million jobseekers by 2018," the organization said.

It forecast around 40 million net new jobs would be created every year, less than the 42.6 million people expected to enter the labor market every year.

The forecast is in line with its outlook in June, when the ILO said once the growth in the working-age population was taken into account, the employment rate would not recover until 2018.

"The global unemployment rate would remain broadly constant during the next five years, at half a percentage point higher than before the crisis," the ILO said.

The bulk of the increase in global unemployment in 2013 was in East Asia and South Asia, which together account for more than 45 percent of the 5 million rise in 2013, the ILO said, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

By contrast, Latin America added fewer than 50,000 additional unemployed to the global number – or around 1 percent of the total increase in unemployment in 2013, the ILO noted.

As the ILO has warned in previous years, joblessness continued to affect young people "disproportionately" in 2013. Indeed, in countries like Spain and Greece, youth unemployment remains above 50 percent and shows little sign of abating despite improvements in the economies of these countries.

(Read more: World Unemployment to Hit Record High in 2013: ILO)

The ILO estimated that some 74.5 million young people aged 15–24 were unemployed in 2013 -- almost 1 million more than in the year before. That brings the global youth unemployment rate to 13.1 percent.

Although there were signs of economic recovery in advanced economies, the organization said that the crisis-related global jobs gap "continues to widen." In addition, the average duration of unemployment had got longer in 2013 and labor market participation had waned as people lost hope of finding a job.

(Read more: Youthunemployment 'time bomb' ticking in Europe: ILO)

Meanwhile, the number of people in "vulnerable" employment – such as self-employment –increased, adding to an outlook of the global employment landscape as precarious at best and deteriorating at worst as the global recovery takes time.

"The global labor market situation remains uneven and fragile." Raymond Torres, director of the ILO Research Department, said of the findings in the report.

"True, there are encouraging signs of economic recovery in those advanced economies most affected by the global financial crisis which erupted in 2008…[but] the report finds that those economic improvements will not be sufficient to absorb the major labor market imbalances that built up in recent years."

(Read more: Youth unemployment could 'scar' an entire generation)

He identified three obstacles that could affect any possible recovery in the global employment rate: "Over the fore¬seeable future, the world economy will probably grow less than was the case before the global crisis," complicating "the task of generating the over 42 million jobs that are needed every year in order to meet the growing number of new entrants in the labor market."

Secondly, he noted "the root causes of the global crisis have not been prop¬erly tackled" with the financial system remaining "the Achilles heel of the world economy" and thirdly, "little progress is being made in reducing working poverty and vulnerable forms of employment such as informal jobs and undeclared work."

The report said that to ensure a lasting job recovery, strategies were needed that combined short-term measures (job-friendly macroeconomic and labor market policies) with "further action" to tackle long-standing imbalances. ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said that this required an urgent " policy re-think" and that "stronger efforts are needed to accelerate employment creation and to support enterprises that create jobs."

His colleague at the ILO, Ekkehard Ernst, who heads the Employment Trends Unit at the ILO Research Department and was the main author of the report, agreed it was "imperative" that "active labor market policies be implemented more forcefully to address inactivity and skills mismatch."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt

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