UN: Nearly half billion people lack decent jobs

AFP
Over 470 million people worldwide are currently unemployed or underemployed, the UN said on Monday, warning that a lack of access to decent jobs was contributing to social unrest.
AFP

More than 470 million people worldwide are currently unemployed or underemployed, the UN said on Monday, warning that a lack of access to decent jobs was contributing to social unrest.

The global unemployment rate has remained relatively stable over much of the past decade, according to the UN’s International Labour Organization.

But while the rate — 5.4 percent last year — is not expected to change much, overall jobless numbers are likely to inch up as slowing economies reduce the number of jobs available to a growing population.

This year, the number of people registered as unemployed is expected to rise to 190.5 million up from 188 million in 2019, the ILO said in its annual World Employment and Social Outlook report.

At the same time, the UN body stressed that some 285 million people worldwide are considered underemployed, meaning they either work less than they want to, have given up searching for work or otherwise lack access to the labor market.

That amounts to nearly half a billion people and represents a full 13 percent of the global labor force, the ILO said.

“For millions of working people, it is becoming increasingly difficult, I think, to build better lives through work,” ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters in Geneva.

He warned that “persisting and substantial work-related inequalities and exclusion” were preventing many from finding decent work and better futures.

“I think that this is an extremely worrying finding,” he said, adding that lacking access to decent work appeared to be part of what was spurring growing global protest movements and unrest.

“Labor market conditions are contributing to ... this erosion of social cohesion in many of our societies,” he said, referring to mass demonstrations in places like Lebanon and Chile.

The ILO’s “social unrest index,” measuring the frequency of things like demonstrations and strikes, said there was an increase at the global level and in seven of 11 sub-regions between 2009 and 2019.

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