Global unemployment to dip slightly in 2024, ILO reports

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has revised its global unemployment outlook for the year, offering a glimmer of hope.

Previously predicting a rise, the UN agency now forecasts a slight decrease in the global unemployment rate to 4.9% in 2024, compared to 5% in 2023.

This represents a positive shift from their earlier projection of 5.2%.

However, the report issued Wednesday highlights a significant caveat: persistent labor market inequalities.

Women, particularly those in low-income countries, bear the brunt of this disparity.

The ILO estimates that while 183 million people are officially unemployed (actively seeking work), a staggering 402 million want a job but haven’t actively sought one.

Women are disproportionately represented in this latter group, lacking opportunities and facing greater barriers to re-entering the workforce.

The data paints a concerning picture.

In low-income countries, nearly 23% of women wanting a job are not actively employed, compared to 15.3% of men.

This gap shrinks in high-income countries, but the disparity remains: 9.7% of women compared to 7.3% of men.

The report warns this underemployment is just the tip of the iceberg, as women are significantly more likely to leave the workforce altogether.

ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo emphasizes the need to address these inequalities.

He states, “Despite our efforts to reduce global inequalities, the labour market remains an uneven playing field.”

He urges placing “inclusion and social justice at the core of our policies and institutions” to achieve a truly sustainable economic recovery.

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