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World Unemployment Level Reaches More Than 200 Million

Douglas A. McIntyre

If the global economic recovery has left some things behind, the most important is probably job creation. In 2013, 202 million people were unemployed worldwide, up five million from 2012. It is hard to make the case that the recovery can be complete when such a huge number of people who might be consumers have a financial inability to consume.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), which publishes the "Global Employment Trends 2014," the number of job seekers rose by 32 million. The count for people who are discouraged and no longer looking for jobs increased by 23 million.

Ironically, while organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund expect global gross domestic product to improve in 2014 and 2015, this improvement will not trigger a related boost in the worldwide jobs market. By 2018, the ILO forecasts, there will be 215 million job seekers, while jobs available will grow by a net 40 million. However, the size of the number of people who will enter the workforce in 2018 will move to 46.2 million.

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As has been the case throughout the recession, and apparently after it, young people have had the greatest trouble finding jobs, at least among the major demographic groups as measure by age. The global unemployment rate among people from ages 15 to 24 was 13.1 million in 2013. That is, according to the ILO, about three times the rate for older adults.

The final significant finding of the study was a measure of the number of people who make extremely low wages. About 375 million people who had jobs in 2013 made less than $1.25 per day. Approximately 839 million made less than $2, based on the same measurement. Of course, the cost of living in many underdeveloped nations is well below that in developed nations, which in particular include the United States, most of Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada.

However, the jobs math still presents a puzzle, at least as put forward by the ILO. If a global economic recovery is to continue or accelerate over the next five years, those people who are employed will have to increase their consumption considerably to offset the number of people out of work.

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