Industrialized countries could see more social
unrest in coming years because employment has still not recovered to
pre-crisis levels, the International Labour Organization (ILO)
predicted Monday in Geneva.
The global number of people without a job would rise from 200 million currently to 208 million by 2015, the UN organization said in its annual world labour report.
"We need a global recovery focussed on jobs and productive investment, combined with better social protection for the poorest and most vulnerable groups," ILO Director General Guy Ryder said.
"And we need to pay serious attention to closing the inequality gap that is widening in so many parts of the world," he added.
The ILO said the risk of social strife has grown in 46 out of 71 economies that were analyzed, based on factors such as the job market, standard of living and confidence in the government.
In the EU countries, the risk rose from an average 34 per cent in 2006 to 46 per cent last year.
"The situation in some European countries in particular is beginning to strain their economic and social fabric," Ryder said, pointing to the austerity policies that have been drawn up to solve sovereign debt crises.
The report said the middle class has been shrinking in many advanced economies such as Spain, where the middle class shrank from 50 per cent of the population in 2007 to 46 per cent in 2010.
In the EU, the risk of social unrest has increased in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain since 2007, while having fallen in Belgium, Germany, Finland, Slovakia and Sweden.
In contrast, the risk fell in large parts of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
In these three regions, rising employment has led to a growing middle class in recent years, the ILO said.
The report also noted that most of the countries where employment climbed above 2007 levels were developing or emerging economies.
The ILO cited Chile and Colombia as positive examples of how to deal with crises. In both countries, employment rates grew by an average 3.5 per cent in the fourth quarters from 2007 through 2012.
Governments in the two countries increased spending despite the crisis, took steps to protect vulnerable social groups and implemented job programmes for young people, the ILO noted.
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