UN labour agency urges job-rich growth from G20

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The UN labour agency on Monday called on the G20 group of rich and emerging nations to focus on job-rich growth at their summit, after research showed that employment was not picking up fast enough.

In a report for the meeting in South Korea on Thursday and Friday, the International Labour Organisation found that unemployment declined in eight of the G20 nations so far this year compared to 2009 but increased in 10 of them.

It described the overall labour market in G20 nations as "fragile" with signs of "a weak recovery, stronger in emerging countries than in high income countries."

Despite some positive signs, including a pick up in employment growth in most of the G20 nations in the second quarter of 2010, the ILO warned that jobs growth "has not been strong enough to reverse the slack that accumulated in the labour market during the economic crisis."

"Over the next 10 years the world will need to generate 440 million jobs, just to absorb new entrants into the labour force of which 210 million are in G20 countries," the report said.

Most of the good news came from emerging nations, where the ILO forecast that employment would be eight percent above pre-crisis levels by 2015.

However, in wealthy economies employment is "unlikely to recover its 2008 level within the next five years," it added.

The ILO is calling for higher investments and access to credit, more attention to small businesses, increases in real wages in line with productivity and minimum wages to protect low income earners.

The updated report on employment and labour market trends in G20 countries was based on data available in 18 nations.

© 2010 AFP

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