Unemployment in India is projected to witness marginal increase between 2017 and 2018, signalling stagnation in job creation in the country, according to a UN labour report. The United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) released its 2017 World Employment and Social Outlook report yesterday, which finds economic growth trends lagging behind employment needs and predicts both rising unemployment and worsening social inequality throughout 2017.
Job creation in India is not expected to pick up pace in 2017 and 2018 as unemployment rises slightly, representing a near stagnation in percentage terms.
“Unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7 million last year to 17.8 million in 2017 and 18 million next year. In percentage terms, unemployment rate will remain at 3.4 per cent in 2017-18,” the report added.
India had performed slightly well in terms of job creation in 2016, when a “majority” of the 13.4 million new employment created in Southern Asia happened in the country. The report also acknowledged that India’s 7.6 per cent growth in 2016 helped Southern Asia achieve 6.8 per cent growth that year.
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“Manufacturing growth has underpinned India’s recent economic performance, which may help buffer demand for the region’s commodity exporters,” it added.
The report added that global unemployment levels and rates are expected to remain high in the short term, as the global labour force continues to grow. In particular, the global unemployment rate is expected to rise modestly in 2017, to 5.8 per cent (from 5.7 per cent in 2016) – representing 3.4 million more unemployed people globally (bringing total unemployment to just over 201 million in 2017).
“We are facing the twin challenge of repairing the damage caused by the global economic and social crisis and creating quality jobs for the tens of millions of new labour market entrants every year,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
The increase in unemployment levels and rates in 2017 will be driven by deteriorating labour market conditions in emerging countries – as the impacts of several deep recessions in 2016 continue to affect labour markets in 2017.
The number of unemployed people in emerging countries is expected to increase by approximately 3.6 million between 2016 and 2017 (during which time the unemployment rate in emerging countries is expected to climb to 5.7 per cent, compared with 5.6 per cent in 2016), it said.
“Almost one in two workers in emerging countries are in vulnerable forms of employment, rising to more than four in five workers in developing countries,” said Steven Tobin, ILO Senior Economist and lead author of the report.
That statistic is even worse for emerging countries. Those living in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are facing the greatest risk.
In contrast, unemployment is expected to fall in 2017 in developed countries (by 670,000), bringing the rate down to 6.2 per cent from 6.3 per cent in 2016.
In Europe, notably Northern, Southern and Western Europe, unemployment levels and rates are both expected to continue to fall, but the pace of improvement will slow, and there are signs that structural unemployment is worsening.
The ILO advocates policy approaches that address root causes of secular stagnation as well as structural impediments to growth.
“Boosting economic growth in an equitable and inclusive manner requires a multi-faceted policy approach that addresses the underlying causes of secular stagnation, such as income inequality, while taking into account country specificities,” said Tobin.
Such progress, the ILO emphasised, is only possible through international cooperation. A coordinated effort to provide fiscal stimuli and public investments would go a long way to provide an immediate jump start to the global economy and could eliminate an anticipated rise in unemployment for two million people.