Signs of recovery are yet to be translated into jobs

The slowdown in global declines in employment in the third quarter of 2009 reflects a slower pace of layoffs rather than any increase in hiring, the ILO said in its latest Report on employment trends in different sectors.

News | 19 March 2010

The report findings suggest that while growth started to recover in the third quarter of 2009 in a number of developing and some advanced economies, employment continued to decline globally, especially in manufacturing, transport, wholesale and retail trade. A total of 56 countries (30 developed economies and 26 emerging and developing countries), representing 85 per cent of countries that produce monthly or quarterly labour force surveys worldwide were monitored.

The report, on the agenda of the ILO Governing Body currently in session, analyses sectoral aspects regarding the global economic crisis in tourism, public services, education and health. It addresses some of the recommendations set out in the Global Jobs Pact and by the Governing Body. The Global Jobs Pact confers priority attention to employment promotion and creation as key measures for the economic rebound.

By the third quarter of 2009, nine million jobs in manufacturing alone had been shed since 2008, making it the hardest hit economic sector. "Due to the severity of job losses, recovery here is unlikely to happen soon," it said.

Only a few sectors – financial intermediation and business services, including real estate – have shown signs of a mild jobs recovery, while employment continued to grow steadily in health.

Employment resilience appeared to be consolidating in hotels, restaurants and agriculture in the same period, even though employment declined in the latter sectors by 0.7 per cent year-on-year.

Conditions in construction also remained poor as jobs losses were widespread in all countries. Employment in the Asia-Pacific region has been more resilient than in Europe and the Americas, and developed countries have lost nearly twice as many jobs as developing or emerging economies.

“Statistics from December 2009 show a small gain in overall employment in education services compared to the previous year, underpinning key principles of the Global Jobs Pact, notably encouraging protection and growth in employment through quality public services,” the report said.

However, ILO warns against the data gap from large developing countries like India and China and recommends that aggregate figures should be interpreted with caution.