ILO warns global employment situation is 'alarming'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionILO: Improving small firms' access to credit is crucial

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned that the global employment situation is "alarming" and unlikely to improve soon.

The agency said that austerity measures, especially in advanced economies, were hurting job creation.

The ILO said the situation was likely to get worse amid slowing global growth and more people entering the workforce.

High unemployment has been a concern in the US and other major economies and has hurt the global economic recovery.

"It is unlikely that the world economy will grow at a sufficient pace over the next couple of years to both close the existing jobs deficit and provide employment for the more than 80 million people expected to enter the labour market during this period," the agency said in its latest report.

Eurozone warning

The ILO report comes at a time when some of the biggest economies in the eurozone are having to cut government spending in wake of the region's ongoing debt crisis.

The agency was critical of the austerity measures taken by Europe's economies, saying not only had they failed to bring down deficits but they had hurt economic growth and as a result impacted the jobs market.

"Austerity on its own doesn't work," the lead author of the report, Raymond Torres, told BBC News.

"It is counter-productive. Instead of promoting growth and confidence, it reduces confidence and growth. Instead of reducing deficits, it keeps high deficit all the time.

"What is needed is a growth and employment strategy. This is what successful countries like Austria, Australia, Uruguay have done."

The ILO warned that unless there was a change in policy direction, the job market would remain subdued until the end of 2016 and economic growth in the region may slow further.

Data out last week showed that the unemployment rate in Spain hit a new record high of 24.4% at the end of March.

Unemployment in France also rose for the 11th straight month during March.

"The narrow focus of many eurozone countries on fiscal austerity is deepening the jobs crisis and could even lead to another recession in Europe," Mr Torres.

However, the agency said that employment rates in developing economies had recovered much faster and had surpassed pre-financial crisis levels.

'Problematic phase'

The ILO warned that a "new and more problematic phase" was emerging in the global labour market.

It said that more than 40% of jobseekers in advanced economies had been without work for over a year, indicating that it was taking much longer for people to find jobs.

At the same time, the agency noted that youth unemployment had been rising in both developed as well as developing economies, a trend which it warned could have far reaching implications.

"This has huge economic costs in terms of loss of skills and motivation, and could lead to human capital depreciation," the ILO said in its report.

"There may also be accompanying social implications in terms of increased social strife, riots, illness, and so forth."