Global Economic Slowdown Dims Hope for Labor Turnaround in 2023


Slower economic expansion risks heightening the challenges facing the world’s workers, according to the International Labor Organization.

Employment levels will rise by just 1% this year — down from 2.3% in 2022 — with “no major improvement” seen in 2024, the Geneva-based organization said Monday in a report.

The ILO expects the global jobs shortfall to widen further in 2023, from 41 million last year. Total unemployment will probably hit 208 million — corresponding to a jobless rate of 5.8%.

Labor Force Participation Rate

Source: ILOSTAT, ILO modelled estimates, November 2022

“Most countries will fall short of a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels in the foreseeable future,” ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo said. “Worse still, progress in labor markets is likely to be far too slow to reduce the enormous decent work deficits that existed prior to, and were exacerbated by, the pandemic.”

The upshot could see workers, whose incomes are already being squeezed by soaring inflation, forced into lower-quality jobs than they may enjoy in better economic conditions.

Houngbo urged governments to pursue coordinated actions to address the lack of access to employment, poor job quality, insufficient pay, and other inequalities.

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