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Over 50 mn could lose jobs by end of 2009

business Updated: Jan 29, 2009 01:19 IST
Ruchi Hajela

Over 50 million more people could end up losing their jobs this year as governments grope for options to create employment opportunities amid the rubble of the economic meltdown, said an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report released on Wednesday.

The Global Employment Trends 2009 report said that if the economic situation continues to deteriorate, about 200 million workers, mostly in developing economies, could be pushed into extreme poverty.

Absence of an evolved social security system could make south Asian countries, including India, feel the pinch further, although the unemployment rate (at 5.4 per cent) is expected to be much lower than those in Europe and America, the report noted.

“Harsh working conditions mean that there are no benefits in case of a job loss,” Theo Sparreboom, a Geneva-based economist and author of the report, told Hindustan Times. “Richer countries like Europe have unemployment benefits.”

In South Asia, East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of workers do not enjoy the possible security that wage and salary jobs could provide.

“Taking into account that a wage and salary job in poor regions may still not ensure all the components of a decent job, it becomes understandable that only a minority of working people have a job that is well paid, respects their fundamental rights and ensures some security in case of job loss, personal or family illnesses, or other difficulties,” the report said.

A slowdown in India and China would adversely affect employment opportunities in Asia, it pointed out.

“In recent years, South-East Asia and the Pacific has profited through trade and other economic linkages from economic boom in China and India, and slowdown in these countries will have a negative impact in the region,” it said.

In the worst-case economic scenario, the report said 51 million more jobs could be lost by the end of this year (See table), creating a 7.1 per cent global unemployment rate.

Industry experts believe that India will be less impacted than developed nations.

“The job market is not normal,” said Naresh Malhan, managing director, Manpower India, a human resource consulting firm. “In fact, it is very challenging. However, no country is as well placed as India in terms of employment opportunities.”