World jobless numbers rise, says UN labour agency

Protesters in Los Angeles holding signs saying "I Want to Work". File photo The ILO said that 6% of the world's workforce were without a job in 2012

The number of jobless people around the world rose by 4 million in 2012 to 197 million and is expected to grow further, the UN labour agency warns.

In a report, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said the worst affected were youth: nearly 13% of the under 24s were unemployed.

It said global unemployment was projected to rise 5.1 million this year and by a further 3 million in 2014.

The trend reflected a downturn in economic growth, the document said.

This was particularly the case in developed countries.

'Massive waste'

The report - Global Employment Trends 2013 - said that 6% of the world's workforce were without a job in 2012.

It revealed that long-term unemployment was also growing, pointing out that a third of Europe's jobless had been without work for more than a year.

Many were giving up, with the report estimating that 39 million people had withdrawn from the labour market.

"An uncertain economic outlook, and the inadequacy of policy to counter this, has weakened aggregate demand, holding back investment and hiring," ILO director general Guy Ryder said.

The report also called for more funds to be injected in vocational training to equip young people to do the jobs available.

"This is a massive waste of the lives of young people and their talents, and extraordinarily damaging to the people themselves and their societies," Mr Ryder said.

The ILO pointed out that countries which had retained apprenticeships - such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland - had the lowest levels of youth unemployment.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 105.


    Most investments are made from borrowing, but most banks won't lend despite being given £700 billion to cover their losses which is why we have jobless.

    Loans are given to those who already have a good business model, not potential so the rich get richer

    Employees want babies and holidays??? On how dare they, i guess company directors don't get holidays or babies?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Truth is we've arrived @ an age when a combination of technology,globalisation,populations both living longer & still continuing to increase through rising birthrates,has created a dangerous situation whereby there are more of us than is required to produce the goods we consume. Warnings were given on this subject as far back as the 60's,why weren't they officially heeded in the intervening years?

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    The boss makes the investment - hopefully from profits - to by new machinery that does not go on holiday or have babies - goes running to the union every time the boss sneezes.
    So what do you expect he takes the profit that he has made from not employing people.
    As an ex-engineering company owner I know this is the case.I had to find the work to keep the machines busy,do quotations to win work

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    'I want to work' says the banner. Well, what's stopping you? Stop relying on others to provide you with work and take some risks yourself. Typical of today's society when everyone (well, most anyways) expects someone else to provide for them. Oh, and one thing more. With so many out of work don't expect high wages, there will always be someone prepared to work cheaper than you. Supply and demand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.


    Super Yachts is not an industry - ship building is an industry

    Art Galleries/Auctioneers - This is not an industry, the "arts industry" is not dependant solely on the rich

    Biomedical Research - although massive private investment from Bill gates, this pales in comparison to government funding which is tax.

    I can't believe you thought you could back that stupid comment up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.


    No, you mean the rich fund some industries.

    I can't quite see a billionaire working in a factory CNC milling cylinder blocks for the engine of a super yacht, and many other such things with many other "rich maintain by themselves" industries.

    They rely on those lower down the monetary chain to do things for them. Even those that like to get stuck in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Satires come from ancient Greece. Not many understand their arm rich into what the world has become, and of the plus 7 billion dwelling on Earth many are still trying to cover the sun with a finger -middle one perhaps? All is in our hidden hybrid human genes... OM

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    The rich maintain whole industries:

    1.) Super-yachts (
    2.) Art galleries / auctioneers
    3.) A good slice of biomedical research

    Plus private jet manufacturers, tax avoidance accountants, wealth management firms...

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    With a rising global population, plus productivity improvements from new technology reducing the demand for labour this really should not be that surprising.

    Factor in rising inequality and growth in the production of luxury goods (yes an iPhone is a luxury) and this is compounded.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    #94 Mike, man is not becoming obselete at all! There are many labour intensive jobs, but current economic thinking prefers mass unemployment to 'encourage' lower wages'
    Are there enough cares to look after our elderly?
    Enough teachers and TA's to educate our kids?
    Enough nurses to tend and care for the sick?
    The jobs are there, the will to employ isn't!

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    @Mike Solomons. I disagree with your argument. Technology has created jobs. Now we have programmers, engineers, designers, more marketing jobs. The problem is more jobs have appeared abroad. Unfortunately, some people have to be poor and fortunately for us in the West it was always India or China. Now they're getting the work, and the rest of the World is suffering apart from the company directors

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    Man is becoming obsolete. At first it was slow - the telephone reduced post, then fax further reduced post so reducing Royal Mail staff.

    Cars reduced the work of the horseman.

    Modern machines advance at an astonishing pace constantly reducing the demand for human labour.

    Nowadays money is made by the owners of machines.

    The only jobs left are jobs a machine can't do, and they are dwindling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    Mass unemployment has been crippling for the 1% who run industry, they are earning exponentionally more year on year, they are desperate for cuts to "red tape" so that employees have less rights and can be sacked/redundant quickly and without pay.

    At least these bankers, super rich and politicans (who are asking for a pay rise) are struggling like the rest of us......

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    85.David - "Many of you humans blame the rich and the markets, but:

    1.) The rich maintain whole industries by themselves..........."

    I'd love to see you justify that statement......your logic must be seriously flawed if you think you can.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.


    Create a new type of company, which is fully owned by the employees and give it a tax break.

    It already exists - it's called John Lewis. There are also many thousand cooperatives throughout the world.

    But don't expect tax breaks. Governments don't want cooperation - politicians thrive on conflict.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    @88 Valentin
    (There were no) ...greed and injustice as well, and sicknesses.

    No sicknesses? With the exception of dysentery, malaria, diphtheria, flu, typhoid, smallpox, leprosy, cancer, heart disease, pestilence/plague and, erm... I'm sure there was one other... Oh yeah- The Black Death.

    No sicknesses at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    This is not surprising and is fuelled by greed.

    50 years ago we were told that mechanisation would result in us all working a 3 day week. What happened is that some of us worked the same or longer hours in pursuit of material possessions and a higher standard of living. At the same time others became unemployed on benefits (in some countries) or reduced their living standards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    In the Middle Ages there were, of course, not many humans. Income was based on taxing the peasants, shroud commerce due to wars and pillages. Those involved with religions lived more or less happily. There where no smart phones, lasers or HD TV. Greed and injustice as well, and sicknesses. Life span short. No job problems no visions of future. Is that what selfish world governments want now? OM

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    If something were done about executives who have multiple commitments to different companies for so-many hours per week, when, if you add up the hours, it comes to more than the number of hours in a week, then I am sure extra people could take up the slack, thus creating more space at the bottom for young people. But investment in education and apprenticeships is required, and greed prevents this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    U.S. Congress has absolutely no leverage on the problem of national debt. Leverage is only found in a higher prime rate for lending and elimination of prohibitions on international trade ( The immediate realization of revenue would allow the federal budget to balance for the fiscal year.


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