European countries like Spain struggle with unemployment.
PHOTO: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
European countries like Spain struggle with unemployment.

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A total of 197 million people were without a job in 2012, says ILO report

Report: Global unemployment numbers will rise once again in 2013

Youth unemployment remains persistent problem

A total of 197 million people were without jobs in 2012, with youth being particularly hard hit, and those unemployment figures will increase again this year, according to an International Labor Organization report released Monday.

The bulk of the 4 million newly unemployed in 2012 came from developing economies in East Asia, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Global Employment Trends 2013 report.

The International Labor Organization, which is a United Nations agency responsible for overseeing international labor standards, made bleak projections of another increase in unemployment worldwide by 5.1 million in 2013 – which would push the total to 202 million.

In 2012, 73.8 million young people were unemployed globally.

“Many young people now experience long-term unemployment right from the start of their labor market entry,” said Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, during a presentation of the report’s findings. “When this occurs early on in a person’s career, it can do significant damage to their long-term employment prospects.”

Although new jobs may open up, they may require different skills than those that match the unemployed workers, according to the report.

“Governments should step up efforts to support skills and retraining activities in order to address such mismatches which particularly affect young people,” Ryder said.

The report advised that the governments should step up efforts to retrain and support job skills to address the differences in work qualifications, with a focus on young people.

Youth unemployment is expected to rise in emerging economies in Eastern Europe, East and South-East Asia and the Middle East, according to the report.

In developed economies in Europe, firms are reluctant to hire because of uncertainty, the report said. Youth unemployment tops 50% in some European countries.

In Latin America, the region’s unemployment was at 6.6% in 2012, with a more rapid recovery from the economic crisis.

In East Asia, employment expanded only 0.5%. In South Asia, female labor force participation remains low.

In the Middle East, unemployment is on the rise again after a decline in the 2000s. But vast differences remain in the region, as oil-producing countries tend to have low unemployment rates.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 77% of workers have what is called “vulnerable employment.”

The report made several recommendations on stemming unemployment globally. Leaders should formulate more “coherent and predictable” policy, to address economic uncertainty, it stated.