Global employment is witnessing a volatile and uneven recovery, with the manufacturing and construction sectors hardest hit and health a rare bright spot, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said on Wednesday.
"In 2010, the global economy seems to have entered into a new stage where divergence and volatility in a number of labour markets have significantly increased and uncertainty over the stability of the recovery remains high," the ILO said in a report.
The report was based on figures covering 13 economic sectors in 51 countries, ranging from the United States and Germany to Russia, the Philippines and India.
It is the second issued this week by the agency on global job trends in advance of a meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) in Seoul on Thursday and Friday.
In the first half of 2010, manufacturing and construction, especially in Europe, lost more jobs than any of the other sectors surveyed, while employment losses continued in wholesale and retail, the report said.
Health, it noted, had 2.8 million more jobs in the 51 countries surveyed at the end of the first quarter this year than it did two years previously.
The report did not analyse why some sectors were doing better than others. ILO economist Elizabeth Tinoco said the volatility varied not only across sectors but also across emerging economies like China, South Africa and Brazil as well as richer nations.
Financial services, which last year showed signs of recovery, saw jobs fall in the third quarter of 2009 and had been rising and falling quarter to quarter since then, reflecting restructuring in the United States and Britain.
Agriculture, the ILO said, remained resilient although volatile in the first 6 months, with a year-on-year job total decline of 1.1% over the first quarter, driven by a 5.9% drop in Asia due to extreme weather.
On Monday the ILO said unemployment in the G20 -- a steering group of leading world economies, both developing and developed -- stood at 70 million or nearly 8% of the total workforce and looked set to grow strongly.