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Global jobs crisis growing: ILO’s stark message

News, 1 May 2012

The May Day message from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is clear: austerity is producing more austerity by cutting jobs and tax revenues, and the answer isn’t to cut labour standards and protections.

In its World of Work Report 2012: Better Jobs for a Better Economy, the ILO shows there are still 50 million fewer jobs worldwide than there were before the crisis began in 2008. Unemployment in Europe has risen by two-thirds since 2010 alone, and “labour market recovery has also stalled in other advanced economies”.

The report adds: “Elsewhere, employment gains have weakened in terms of the needs of a growing, better educated working-age population, as in China. And jobs deficits remain acute in much of the Arab region and Africa.”

Some governments and international institutions insist that the way to create more jobs is to make them worse jobs, the inference of two recent International Monetary Fund papers critiqued here by Public World. But the ILO report says there is “no clear link between labour market reforms and employment levels”. In fact:

“Within the range in which the majority of countries lie, adequate employment regulations tend to be positively associated with employment. Beyond that, badly designed regulations may adversely affect labour market performance. In these cases, there are grounds for considering reforms as part of social dialogue and in conjunction with social protection measures.”

The report goes on to argue for a new policy approach to create more and better jobs. For the full report and more go here.

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