Economic slowdown worsens working conditions, says ILO report – Liberation

The International Labor Organization warns that a struggling economy is pushing workers to accept increasingly dangerous jobs. There is a risk of a shortage of skilled workers in some sectors.

Work more to earn less? According to a recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), rising inequalities caused by the Covid-19 crisis and the current slowdown in the global economy will force more workers to accept low-paid, dangerous and insecure jobs. ), published on Monday. “Forecasts of slower economic and employment growth in 2023 suggest that most countries will not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels.” ILO Director General Gilbert Houngbo emphasizes in the foreword.

The ILO also predicts a slight increase in global unemployment this year, rising by about 3 million to 208 million (global unemployment rate 5.8%). These figures show an inversion of the observed decline curve from 2020 to 2022. However, unemployment is expected to rise only modestly this year, as much of the shock is absorbed by a rapid decline in real wages amid accelerating economic growth. Inflation, not jobs, is cutting the deficit, the ILO said.

Job growth is expected to slow markedly this year, to 1% (from 2.3% in 2022), a significant downward revision of 0.5 percentage points from the previous forecast. “Due to the slowdown in global employment growth, we do not expect to be able to recover the losses incurred during the Covid-19 crisis until 2025”Richard Samans, director of the ILO research department and coordinator of the report, said this in a press release.

Furthermore, as prices rise faster than nominal labor incomes due to inflation, more people are at risk of falling into poverty, according to the ILO’s annual employment report. This trend comes on top of the significant drop in revenue seen during the Covid-19 crisis.

The reasons are multifactorial. New geopolitical tensions, conflict in Ukraine, uneven recovery from the pandemic and continued bottlenecks in global supply chains “It created the conditions for an episode of stagflation, combining high inflation and low growth, for the first time since the 1970s.“, the report states.

“Two-thirds of the world’s working youth lack basic skills”

The report also identifies a new aggregate measure of unmet employment need: “Global Job Gap”. In addition to the unemployed (205 million in 2022), this measure also includes people who want to work but are not actively looking for work (268 million), either because they are discouraged or because they have other responsibilities, such as family.

Last year, this global job gap was 473 million more than in 2019. This workplace gap is particularly large for women and in developing countries. “The current slowdown means that many workers will have to accept jobs of lower quality, often very poorly paid, and sometimes with insufficient hours.”, also shows ILO. Especially young people aged 15-24 face serious difficulties in finding and keeping a decent job. Their unemployment rate is three times higher than that of adults.

And despite this general slowdown, some countries and sectors are at risk of skilled labor shortages. Therefore, the ILO calls for a significant increase in investment in education and training “Two-thirds of the world’s working youth lack basic skills.” According to the report, the recovery of the labor market after the Covid-19 crisis was mainly due to informal employment. In 2022, about 2 billion workers were in informal employment, and 214 million workers lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 a day), about 6.4% of employed workers.

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