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239 million people jobless in two years: ILO

By Dharam Shourie in New York
Last updated on: May 29, 2009 14:14 IST
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The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has revised upwards its estimates of worldwide unemployment, and called for a "global jobs pact" to address the current crisis.

In a statistics released on Friday, the ILO said it now estimated that in the period of 2007 to 2009, between 210 million and 239 million people would lose jobs, representing world unemployment rates of 6.5 and 7.4 per cent respectively.

Three months ago, the ILO projected global unemployment is likely to increase by 24 million (an unemployment rate of 6.3 per cent) to 52 million people, or 7.1 per cent, for the same period.

"We are seeing an unprecedented increase in unemployment and the number of workers at risk of falling into poverty around the world this year," said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, adding, "This is cause for grave concern. To avoid a global social recession we need a global jobs pact to address this crisis, and mitigate its effects on people."

ILO said projections indicate that 200 million workers are at risk of joining the ranks of people living on less than $2 per day between 2007 and 2009. The number of unemployed youth is expected to rise by 11-17 million from 2008 to 2009.

Somavia said past experience suggested a considerable lag of 4-5 years on an average in the recovery in labour markets after economic recovery. There is a risk of the global jobs crisis persisting for the next several years, he said.

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Dharam Shourie in New York
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