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319th Governing Body of the ILO

Ryder: Global employment pressured by weak economic recovery

ILO Director-General points to growing awareness of the importance of employment-centred strategies to strengthen the recovery.

News | 28 October 2013
GENEVA (ILO News) -The continuing weak economic recovery is likely to add further pressure to the global employment situation, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, has warned.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder addressing the High Level section of the ILO's Governing Body.

Speaking at the ILO’s Governing Body meeting, Ryder pointed to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) downgrading of global growth figures in October from the forecasted 3.2 per cent for 2013 to 2.9 per cent - the lowest rate since 2010. Projections for 2014 have also been downgraded from 3.8 per cent to 3.6 per cent.

“These revised projections reflect difficulties facing all major components of the economies of developed, emerging and developing economies. They also reflect the difficult environment facing enterprises and workers in the real economy,” Ryder said.

Global employment

We need growth of demand as well, and the entire economic pie, not competition over ever-smaller shares of it."
He highlighted record levels of unemployment, stagnant wages in many countries, private investment below pre-crisis levels and a public sector under pressure to make cuts.
“These trends will further affect the global employment situation,” he stressed.

Youth unemployment, Ryder said, is expected to remain high in most regions and informal work will continue to rise – contributing to widening inequality in many countries.

Many countries have adopted a strategy of boosting exports to compensate for weak domestic consumption and investment but this, the ILO Director-General stressed, could only work with stronger growth. “We need growth of demand and the entire economic pie, not competition over ever smaller shares.”

However, Ryder pointed to some positive developments: Several emerging and developing countries have shown more resilience than in earlier crises. Some European countries hardest hit by the economic crisis may be beginning to grow again, he said.

“More fundamentally, there is growing awareness around the world of the importance of a greater focus on employment-centred strategies,” he stressed.


Also speaking at the governing body meeting, the Minister of Labour of Cyprus, Zeta Emilianidou, said her country is still dealing with the impact of the financial crisis. Domestic demand, job creation and GDP growth in Cyprus are all down, she said, leading to high unemployment levels, particularly among young people.

“It goes without saying that we are sparing no effort to overcome the adverse impact on the labour market and cope with financial challenges. Whereas fiscal consolidation is necessary, we know that it cannot by itself provide a sustainable solution. We need to take all necessary measures to foster growth and competitiveness and ensure that we have a well-functioning labour market, in a globalized and changing environment,” the Labour Minister said.

The ILO, she added, is providing valuable technical expertise and assistance in her government’s efforts to stabilize the economy, increase job creation and boost youth employment.

Ghana’s Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Nii Ashietey Armah, also pointed to weak demand in many African labour markets. High unemployment and underemployment, he said, are key challenges in Ghana.

“As a result, the Government has placed employment issues at the centre of our national development agenda. In tangible terms, we are currently introducing policies and programmes. Furthermore, institutions involved in job creation are being restructured to realize this vision.”

The Minister outlined a range of initiatives undertaken by the Ghanaian government, such as a new public-private partnership (PPP) policy aimed at strengthening its critical investment programmes. Other initiatives include programmes to improve the employment prospects of poor people, create jobs and strengthen the manufacturing sector.

Discussion on the global economic and employment situation took place at the high-level section of the ILO’s Governing Body meeting. Delegates discussed the contribution that employment and social policy can make to continued economic recovery and growth.

Place employment at centre of economic strategies, says ILO Director-General
Representatives of the ILO's Governing Body gathered at a High Level meeting to discuss key issues facing the world of work. Launching the discussion, the ILO's Director-General Guy Ryder spoke about the state of the world's economies and the difficult environment facing enterprises and workers in the real economy. He pointed to growing evidence showing how economic strategies with a central focus on employment can sustain global growth, boost investment and create more and better jobs.