‘Unemployment to rise even as recession ends’


Paris : Joblessness in the US, Europe and Japan is expected to continue rising even as their economies recover, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Wednesday.

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“There is great uncertainty looking forward, but labour market conditions appear set to deteriorate further in the coming months,” the OECD said in its Employment Outlook 2009, released in Paris.

The organisation projects that the unemployment rate for the OECD area as a whole will reach 9.9 percent by the end of next year, which means “the number of unemployed people in the OECD area would have risen by more than 25 million in under three years”.

The economic crisis will have cost some 8.7 million people their jobs in the US from the third quarter of 2007 to the end of next year, the OECD said. In Japan, about 1.24 million jobs will have been lost between the end of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2010.

In a similar time frame, Germany is foreseen to lose about 1.83 million jobs, while some 1.39 million British workers are expected to fall victim to the crisis, the OECD said.

According to OECD projections, the labour markets in the US, Spain, Ireland and Japan had already lost the largest part of the expected downturn by mid-2009, whereas in other countries, such as France, Germany and Italy, the worst still lies ahead.

The OECD issued a caveat with its projections, saying that “they are based on assumptions… which may prove to be either too optimistic or too pessimistic by a considerable margin”.

But the organisation insisted that, whatever the future of the labour markets, already disadvantaged groups, such as young people, immigrants and low-skilled workers, “are likely to bear the brunt of rapidly rising unemployment”.

As a result, it called for a maintenance of or increase in active labour market policies (ALMP) to protect these groups.

“Efforts to prevent youth from entering the labour market without adequate credentials should be redoubled and care should be taken to ensure that out-of-school youth are able to access appropriate ALMPs, even when they do not qualify for unemployment benefits,” the OECD said.

In addition, the organisation called on governments to be sensitive to the needs of immigrants, who are particularly vulnerable in recessions.

“Integration programmes need to be maintained, anti-discrimination measures (need to be) reinforced and immigrants (need) to profit equally from ALMPs for the unemployed,” the OECD said.