SA ranks 8th on worst unemployment rate list

South Africa will have the eighth-worst unemployment rate in the world for 2015, according to projections released by the International Labour Organisation.

Unemployment is still rising even though six years have passed since the start of the global financial crisis, the organisation said this morning in Geneva.

About 201 million people were jobless around the world last year, and the number would increase by 3 million this year and by a further 8 million in the following four years, the United Nations labour body predicted.

“This means the jobs crisis is far from over so there is no place for complacency,” the organisation’s director-general Guy Ryder said, adding that more than 61 million jobs had been lost since 2008.

While the situation has improved in the United States, Japan and some European countries, the job market remains tight in other regions including Southern Europe. The body’s annual outlook was published ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting of politicians, UN agency chiefs, central bankers and business leaders that starts tomorrow in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

The main reason for the prolonged rise in unemployment was that hardly any country had reached pre-crisis growth levels.

Widening income inequalities hurt consumer demand and slowed down economic growth, its experts said in the report.

They noted that up to 40% of total global income is being earned by the richest 10%, while the poorest 10% account for only 2% of the total.

Growing wage gaps, combined with rising youth unemployment and decreasing trust in governments around the world can contribute to social unrest, according to the organisation.

Since 2009, social protests have become more frequent in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in parts of Eastern Europe, former Soviet countries and in South Asia.

On a positive note, it was reported that more than a third of employees in developing countries belong to the middle class.

According to the projection, the 10 countries with the highest projected unemployment rates for 2015 are: Mauritania (30.9%), Reunion (29.4%), Macedonia (28.2%), Bosnia (27.5%), Guadeloupe (25.8%), Lesotho (25.7%), Palestinian territories (25.3%), South Africa (25%), Greece (24.6%) and Spain (23.6%).


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