ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder
As unemployment hits 200 million worldwide, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called on G20 nations to stand by their commitment to take new, urgent measures in the face of deteriorating global economic condition.
At the Los Cabos Summit earlier this year in Mexico, nine nations - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Korea, Russia and the United States – said they would be ready to coordinate and implement additional measures to support demand if the global economic situation deteriorated.
ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder called on the G20 nations to act on their pledge to take urgent action to arrest the situation.
New ILO figures, based on the IMF’s downward revision of global economic growth last week, predicted that unemployment will rise by seven million in 2013, adding to the current 200 million out of work worldwide. This adds a fresh three million to the previous ILO estimate of a rise of four million in 2013.
The ILO chief said that the latest IMF World Economic Outlook recognises that many governments that embarked on austerity measures underestimated the negative impact of these measures.
“It is now abundantly clear that such deterioration is under way, and additional measures are urgently needed. The countries that indicated their willingness to join such a coordinated effort account for half of global output and so could have a pronounced effect on global conditions.
“This means that these austerity measures caused greater damage to the economy than previously thought,” Ryder said.
According to the international body, global unemployment is still 30 million higher than before the crisis started in 2008 and nearly 40 million more people have dropped out of the labour market since then.
At the same time, the IMF estimates that the benefits of earlier stimulus measures taken since the crisis began have been two to three times higher than previously thought.
Ryder stated that a more gradual reduction of debt, combined with low interest rates would have substantial multiplier effects, adding that “If countries embark on this approach simultaneously, we could put the global economy onto a sustainable recovery and growth track”.
New initiatives should focus on four main areas: supporting infrastructure investment, improving access to bank funding for small and medium enterprises, extending the coverage of social protection and investing in jobs for young people.
The ILO chief said that coordinated action by the world’s leading economies can and must prevent a slide into what he described as a political, economic and social quagmire.