By  on June 24, 2009

GENEVA — The Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development forecast Tuesday that more than 57 million people will be unemployed in rich nations by the end of 2010, up nearly 20 million from 37.2 million at the end of 2008.

The agency said the surge in the jobless numbers will bring the OECD unemployment average to around 9.9 percent, the highest since the Seventies, when it averaged 9.8 percent.

However, analysts at the Paris-based OECD said they expect the level of unemployment to be slightly above 10 percent for the U.S. by the end of 2010 and to surpass this level in the euro area. The agency did not release internal estimates for individual OECD member nations.

The gloomy projection is seen as a setback to recent hopes the world economy was showing signs of bouncing back after the worst global downturn since the Great Depression. The swell in the jobless numbers is also expected to delay a pickup in consumer demand and sustain downward pressure on prices, analysts said.

“Unemployment will continue to weigh on national economies for a long time to come,” said Angel Gurria, OECD secretary-general. “Past downturns have taught us that the jobs recovery will lag a long way behind the pickup in economic growth.”

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