Global Unemployment: UN Says 201 Million People Will Be Jobless This Year


The United Nations has warned that at least 201 million people will be jobless in 2017, with additional 2.7 million people in 2018.

According to the UN, in major emerging economies, unemployment is rising especially those reliant on commodity exports such as Russia, South Africa and Brazil.

In its annual report – World Employment Social Outlook, the agency said global unemployment is forecast to increase by 3.4-million people in 2017, bringing the total to 201-million, due to the failure to create jobs.

More so, the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, in a message to the commission for social development, maintained that the world was currently going through a challenging period. Guterres said:

“Let us make no mistake: these are challenging times. Conflicts are reversing decades of hard-won improvements in social well-being, and discriminatory exclusionary practices widen the gap between rich and poor. Even in peaceful societies, prosperity has not been shared.

This year, the number of jobless people is expected to exceed 201 million – and another 2.7 million could be added to the unemployment rolls by 2018.

Anxiety is mounting as societies cope with urbanisation, climate change, population growth and other mega trends. In this uncertain environment, I welcome your focus on strategies for eradicating poverty in all its forms to achieve sustainable development for all.”

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According to Guterres, the new UN agenda 2030, required a redefinition of traditional planning, monitoring, and delivery of sustainable development objectives.

While calling for a new set of tools and policies tailored to the national context, the UN said unlike the millennium development goals, the sustainable development goals require whole-of-society approaches involving public and private partners.

Guterres said sustainable development is an end in itself and stressed his commitment to integrating the UN’s work for peace, sustainable development, and human rights. He added that sustainable and inclusive development is the best way to secure and ensure lasting peace.

He stressed the need to give top priority to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. He also noted that the commission was meeting at a time of global contradictions, regretting that unprecedented scientific and technological advances are driving progress, ‘yet inequality is worsening’.

jobless people looking for employment

Also confirming the expected global joblessness this year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said the ranks of the jobless are expected to grow globally this year due to slow growth, political and economic uncertainty and a lack of investment. ILO director-general Guy Ryder said;

“That corresponds to an increase in the rate of unemployment in the world from 5.7% in the year that has just closed to 5.8% in 2017, and this is a tendency driven by deteriorating labour market conditions, particularly in emerging countries.

We have a situation in which, despite relatively high cash holdings, companies seem uncertain about investment. Investment levels are not where they need to be.”

Ryder said, Globalisation and trade liberalisation are increasingly questioned, noting that the intentions of the incoming US administration of Donald Trump were a “major cause of uncertainty”.

Long-term unemployment remains stubbornly high in Europe, Canada and the United States, the report said. At the same time, social unrest and a lack of decent wages are prompting job-seekers to migrate from developing regions.

According to Ryder, who is a former head of the international trade union ICFTU, migration is an essential part of the world of work, an essential part of stimulating future growth, sharing prosperity, making the global economy more inclusive. Major commodity-exporting economies are hardest-hit by insufficient jobs.

“The irony, dilemma, paradox of our time is that at a moment when the economic case for migration, taken globally, has probably never been stronger, it seems that the social and political obstacles to migration are becoming even higher,” he said.

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Similarly, ILO senior economist Steven Tobin noted an increase in the unemployment rate in the Russian Federation, South Africa, Brazil … and some leveling off at least in Saudi Arabia and again also in Indonesia.