The global jobs crisis

Ben Chu
jobless 150x150 The global jobs crisis

A scene from a previous jobs crisis

The world is engulfed in a jobs crisis. That’s the message from the United Nation’s International Labour Organization in its report released yesterday.

The ILO calculates that:

“Approximately 80 million net new jobs will be needed over the next two years to restore pre-crisis employment rates (27 million in advanced economies and the remainder in emerging and developing countries). However, in light of the recent economic slowdown, the world economy is likely to create only about half of those much-needed jobs.”

But the jobs shock has been asymmetric. Some economies have created jobs since 2008, while others have shed them at a frightening rate.

Two charts from the ILO demonstrate that fact.

This one shows advanced nations:

jobs1 The global jobs crisis

One can see from this just how serious the shock has been for Ireland, Spain and and Greece (relative to the size of the labour forces).

And here’s the chart for some emerging nations:

jobs2 The global jobs crisis

Latvia is sometimes held up as an economic success story and praised for its efforts to crush domestic prices through massive austerity, rather than devaluation. It probably doesn’t feel that much of a success if you’re a Latvian worker though.

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  • KnowThankYou

    It is interesting to compare the relative rates of national job loss and creation, but comparing ourselves with one another as nations takes our attention away from one another as communities. Global economies built on debt, cheap labor, and international transportation of consumer goods that could be locally made have, in the long run, created wealth for few and extended poverty for many.

    We know that our economies are broken, and that the ways we measure and define wealth are in need of revision. Capitalism is not imploding, but the way we apply it is. We are finally arriving at an ultimate truth: infinite economic growth is not possible in a world of finite resources.

    It is no wonder that the world appears to be engulfed in a jobs crisis; as we look for employment we cannot look to those corporations and industries that would chase the same old paradigm down the rabbit hole. It is time to take our focus away from the world economy and focus instead on our home economy; time to import less and produce more; time to eat seasonally and sustainably rather than globally and genetically modified.

    Einstein once said that insanity might be defined as repeating the same action over and over but expecting different results. Should we really expect the same economy to produce jobs and prosperity? Perhaps instead it is time to build ourselves a new economy, one centered around the achievement of personal well-being rather than corporate profit.

  • ConanTheBrightonian

    So what are we going to do when another 3 billion people come along?

  • Old Git Tom

    The production jobs of making & growing things have been taken over by automation. The Victorian/capitalist model of distributing money via wages is dead. Universal wage for all is the answer, if, & only if, the monopoly to print paper money is removed from the bankers. A 3-day workweek is also possible, drastically reducing rush-hour congestion & wasted fuel. We actually had that back in the 1970s for a while. Production was little affected.   OGT

  • CurtOntheRadio

    So job losses are 2:1 in developing nations vs developed?  wow.  

    And look at Indonesia’s job creation?  12.5m new jobs?  Is that right?   (All paying $1 a day?)  

    From elsewhere: “… the average annual Indonesian income now exceeds $US3000.

    Approximately half the population still lives on around US$2 per day…..”

    Maybe we could send all the British unemployed to Indonesia for a holiday… reduce our benefits bill?


    According to the Jakarta Post:

    “Indonesia’s economic growth reached 6.2 percent in 2010, supposedly creating 2.48 million new jobs throughout the year.”

    So should that chart read 2.5 million – not 12.5 million? Or what are we looking at? What do the figures mean if they’re not net job creation/loss? Graphs without a key – tut tut. ;)

    ETA – it’s pre and post crisis. I guess you do say. So that’s the cumulative difference between 2007 to 2011? Still, 12.5m jobs is a lot. $2 a day isn’t. Gee, I wonder if there’s a connection….

  • Greven

    The way things are going I would be more concerned over hanging on
    to 80 million existing jobs.

  • Greven

    I think you got a point, now would be the time to zero the entire
    world economy and start again with a level playing field.
    Non productive speculation for the purpose of enriching oneself
    at the expense of others would be delt with by adopting the Chinese
    model = Arrest on monday, trail on Tuesday, appleal on wednesday
    and bullet in the back of the head on Thursday.

  • Old Git Tom


    d’accord! But let’s reserve drastic penalties for the filthiest of our ‘great leaders’ in government; the child & human trafficker-murderers, the gun-sellers-for-dope, the warmongers who sit in capitals smiling at toddlers with their faces blown away, etc., etc. The laughing cynics who propose Victorian remedies for the IT age, we can sentence to useful community service. Yaroo! They’d really hate that.  OGT

  • Wynford7er

    You are absolutely spot on the mark OGT.  “The Man” has been trying to sell us various new forms of servitude by any other name. This is despite the obvious fact that, due to automation, micro-electronics, incredible advances in medicine and bio-science etc, the generation of a massive improvement in quality of life is possible for very little physical effort of the type our forebears broke their backs doing. 

    What happened to computers and robots doing all the work, as promised by Raymond Baxter in 1970s editions of “Tommorrows World”?  Our ruling elite just don’t want us to have a cushy life and continue to rig the financial, tax and welfare regimes to ensure such an outcome.  They hated the 1970s when real incomes and living standards of working people were as high as they have ever been.

  • Old Git Tom

    You got it. Spot on; we now have the technology for lives of ease & fulfillment – probably why our ruling filth is intent on driving us back into the jungle. The horrible truth is staring them in the face: work, jobs, wages & money are ready for the museum, next to Stephenson’s Rocket, & Maggie Thatcher, stuffed & mounted.    OGT

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