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World Unemployment Forecast to Rise in 2013

The global labor market is expected to deteriorate further this year, partly due to the slowdown in economic growth, according to an ILO report.

GENEVA — The global labor market is expected to deteriorate further this year, partly due to the slowdown in economic growth — particularly in Europe and other developed countries — with world unemployment forecast to rise to more than 202 million, up 5.1 million from 2012, an International Labor Organization report published Monday said.

“Prospects are unfortunately not good…the trends are still very much in the wrong direction,” said Guy Ryder, ILO director-general, during the launch of the agency’s “Global Employment Trends 2013” report.

After a two-year decline in the number of unemployed, “2012 saw a resurgence of unemployment, up by 4.2 million worldwide,” he said, adding “it is set to rise again by a further 3 million in 2014.”

“An uncertain outlook, and the inadequacy of policy to counter this, has weakened aggregate demand, holding back investment and hiring,..This has prolonged the labor slump in many countries,” Ryder said.

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The report said a quarter of the increase in global unemployment in 2012 was in advanced economies, and three quarters in other regions, with marked effects for emerging economies in East Asia, South Asia, and Sub- Saharan Africa.

In the case of the United States, retail trade is among the job sectors that has bounced back and is expected to post “continuous growth over the next two years,” without, however, surpassing its pre- crisis employment level, the report said.

On a brighter note, the ILO report pointed out that from 2001 to 2011, developing countries witnessed an increase of 401 million middle-class workers (those who earn above $4 and below $13 a day), and a further 186 million workers who were above the $13-a -day line.

It projected the number of workers attaining middle-class status and above will expand by an additional 390 million by 2017, pushing the share of middle-class workers in these countries to 51.9 percent, up from 41.6 percent in 2011, and less than 23 percent in 2001.

This emerging middle-class in the developing world, it noted, “could bring about a new driver of global growth, with stronger investment and consumption.”