Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF

Ryder warns that prospects for jobs recovery are receding

In a statement to the IMFC in Washington, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder says international policy response efforts are not matching growing global concern over growth, job creation and poverty reduction.

News | 20 April 2013
WASHINGTON D.C. (ILO News) – ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has warned that current policies to address the global crisis are failing to stop rising unemployment in advanced economies and stalling growth in emerging and developing countries.

“Current policies are not stemming the rise of unemployment in advanced countries and are holding back the rapid growth emerging and developing countries need to keep pace with their growing young labour force,” he said in a statement delivered to the International Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee of the International Monetary Fund.

Ryder said that the employment outlook in Europe the US and Japan was grim, and that youth unemployment rates in southern Europe and North Africa were tragically high. He noted that real wages were practically stagnant, except for China, and that income inequalities had widened in most countries.

The ILO estimates that there are over 200 million people unemployed world-wide, 74 million of whom are youth. Some 470 million new jobs will be needed between 2015 and 2030 just to keep up with the growth of the world’s working age population. In addition, some 870 million women and men world-wide are not earning enough to lift themselves above the $2 a day poverty line.

“The inherent difficulties of blending policies appropriate to differing national circumstances into a coherent international strategy is compounded by major differences of view about the efficacy of fiscal and monetary policies,” Ryder said.

Addressing concern about jobs and livelihoods is a way forward in steadily building more effective international policy coordination, he added.

Such a jobs-oriented recovery strategy, undertaken by a significant number of countries at the same time, will also ease pressure on public finances by leading to increased tax revenues and reduced recession-related expenditures, Ryder said.

He outlined policy initiatives relevant to a large number of countries, including increased infrastructure investment with an emphasis on employment intensive options; easing of lending conditions to small and medium-sized enterprises; strengthening social protection floors; introducing or raising minimum wages and increasing training opportunities especially for youth.

Ryder pointed to examples of policy successes in Latin America, where social protection and minimum wages have helped stimulate growth, and in East and South East Asia, where domestic demand has played a key role in strengthening economic growth.

He added the need to apply these types of measures is becoming increasingly evident as the world approaches the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.

“The lively global debate about a post 2015 development agenda initiated by UN Secretary-General Ban- Ki-moon is deepening our understanding of what might be done through a framework for international support to national action” he said, adding that “it is also indicating that job creation is a top priority in almost all countries.”