GENEVA — The global labor market has deteriorated over the last six months, especially in euro zone countries, and world unemployment is projected to rise to 202 million in 2012, up six million from last year, a report by the International Labor Organization, published Monday, warned.

“There is a very significant slowdown in the case of European countries,” said Raymond Torres, director of the ILO’s Institute for Labor Studies, and lead author of the report.

Since 2010, unemployment has increased in more than two-thirds of European countries, Torres noted.
On Friday, Spain reported the level of unemployment in the first quarter reached 24 percent, with youth unemployment rising to 52 percent.

“The narrow focus of many euro zone countries on fiscal austerity is deepening the job crisis and could even lead to another recession in Europe,” Torres said.

The ILO’s “World of Work Report 2012” said around 50 million jobs have been lost since the 2008 global recession. It also highlights that limited access to credit by small- and medium-size companies has depressed investment and prevented employment creation.

The study showed that global investment as a percentage of gross domestic product in 2010 was more than 3 percent below the historical average. But the report also pointed out that the rate of investment to GDP in East Asian Pacific countries was 41.5 percent, with China at 47.8 percent, compared with 15.1 percent in the U.S. and 18.5 percent in the European Union.

Steve Tobin, senior ILO economist, said in advanced economies, especially in Europe, employment is not expected to return to precrisis 2008 levels “until late 2016,” or two years later than the ILO initially predicted. Tobin said the pursuit of  fiscal austerity and tough labor reforms by many governments has “led to more job destruction and very little job creation in the short term,” adding, “It will be a jobless recovery unless the right policies are in place.”

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