Global unemployment “over 200 million” in 2017: ILO

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Factory workers producing shirts in Accra, Ghana. Photo: World Bank/Dominic Chavez

More than 200 million people are out of work around the world – an increase of 3.4 million since last year, the UN said on Monday.

In a new report on jobs and the economy, the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned that small business has "stagnated".

The impact of this is worst in developing economies where more than one in two workers are employed in small and medium-sized firms.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Small businesses are a major driver of the world's economy, especially in poorer countries, where they contribute to just over half of all employment on average.

The sector, which also covers medium-sized firms, accounts for up to 70 per cent of all jobs in some Arabic states, and well over 50 per cent in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

But according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) these companies are struggling to grow, "stagnating" even.

Here's ILO Deputy-Director for Policy Deborah Greenfield:

"What we see is a lack of investment, firms are not investing in workers, productivity is slowing down, so generally sluggish growth that translates into escalating unemployment."

Latest data from more than 130 countries shows that small and medium business had faster job growth than larger firms before the global financial slump in 2008.

From 2009 however, job creation in the small and medium sector was simply "absent", according to the ILO report, which calls for government intervention to reverse the trend.

Another aspect of the ILO's World Employment and Social Outlook report is on how people's working conditions can play a role in sustainable development.

It says that providing training for staff can lead to 14 per cent higher wages and almost 20 per cent higher productivity.

Conversely, relying on short-term contractors tends to be associated with lower wages and lower productivity.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’27″

 

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