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Asia

Youth unemployment a concern in Asia in 2011

Youth unemployment remains a major concern for Asia, according to the International Labor Organization. Its employment trends report projects a global unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.

The ILO projects more than 200 million unemployed worldwide in 2011

The ILO projects more than 200 million unemployed worldwide in 2011

The report shows that youth in Asian countries continue to face significant challenges in securing decent and productive jobs and are 4.7 times more likely to be unemployed than adults.

Steven Kapsos, an economist with the International Labor Organization said the ratio is the highest among the regions of the world.

Young people suffer from what’s often called a first out, last in phenomenon in the job market

Young people suffer from what’s often called a first out, last in phenomenon in the job market

"Young people suffer from what’s often called a first out, last in phenomenon - when there’s an economic shock and firms lay off workers, those with the least amount of experience are often the first to lose their jobs," he told Deutsche Welle.

"When the economy picks up and firms start re-hiring, it's typically those with more experience that are hired."

Economic downturns such as these have a long term impact on youth and "it’s really important for government and firms to put in measures to promote youth employment generation," Kapsos added.

With nearly 50 per cent of the region's population below the age of 30, generating sufficient employment opportunities is seen as crucial.

Need for social protection schemes

Gender-based inequalities in the labor market also remain a concern in South Asia, with more women at risk of losing their jobs than men, particularly in India, Nepal and Pakistan.

In South Asia, more women are at risk of losing their jobs than men

In South Asia, more women are at risk of losing their jobs than men

The report says the large number of workers in vulnerable employment in South Asia - among the highest in the world - highlights the need for protective measures, such as India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

With rising food prices seen as a key risk in 2011, Kapsos says one of the main challenges for Asian economies is to expand their social protection measures to provide a kind of "social floor below which workers and their families can’t fall."

Kapsos pointed that one of the factors leading up to the global economic crisis was an imbalance - where you had reliance on export promotion in Asian countries and other developing countries for growth, reliance on consumption for growth in developed economies.

Expanding social protection measures in Asian countries is seen as one of the ways to "rebalance growth more toward consumption" and to boost income in those countries.

2011 - a big challenge of jobs recovery

Despite the strong recovery in economic output in South-East Asia and the Pacific, the region’s unemployment rate is estimated to have decreased only by one per cent, to 5.1 per cent in 2010.

The ILO warns that in 2011 the world will continue to face a big challenge of jobs recovery

The ILO warns that in 2011 the world will continue to face a big challenge of jobs recovery

At a press conference in Geneva to launch the Global Employment Trends report, the ILO's José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs warned that in 2011 the world will continue to face a big challenge of jobs recovery.

"We estimate the number of unemployed in the world to have grown by 27.6 million between 2007 and 2010, from 177.3 million to 205 million. This weak labor market situation is by itself a drag on world growth and a threat to recovery going forward," he said.

The UN in its World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011 warns that economic growth, projected at 3.1 per cent, could slow to below 2 per cent as a consequence of persistently high levels of unemployment.

Author: Sherpem Sherpa
Editor: Thomas Baerthlein

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