World Employment Statistics
August 10, 2009
Today there are 550 million people who work, but still live on less than US$ 1 a day. These ￢ﾀﾜworking poor” represent 20 per cent of total world employment. In spite of the record levels of global unemployment, the reality for most of the world￢ﾀﾙs poor is that they must work often for long hours, in poor working conditions and without basic rights and representation at work that is not productive enough to enable them to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. While it is clearly the case that employment is central to poverty reduction, it is “decent and productive” employment that matters, not employment alone.
This employment challenge has taken centre stage in the global community, most recently in the Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, which drew attention to the need to make decent and productive employment a central objective of macroeconomic and social policies as a key endeavor to promote fairer globalization. Also, the centrality of decent employment to reaching the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, particularly in halving the share of those in extreme poverty in the total population by 2015, is widely accepted and becoming more and more integrated as a component of national policy.
There are over 88 million unemployed youth around the world, together comprising nearly half of the world’s total unemployment. The problem is especially pronounced in developing regions, where young people are over 4 times more likely to find themselves unemployed when compared with older workers.
Youth often face major hurdles when competing for employment. From lack of work experience, to a deficiency in skill-specific training and education, the result for youth is long average job search times and high incidences of temporary and part-time work, often in positions not covered by labor legislation. In coordination with the Youth Employment Network (YEN), the ILO’s Employment Trends Team is working on the development of new indicators to better assess world and regional youth employment trends to help policymakers analyze and address the pressing needs among youth workers today.