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World unemployment to fall slightly in 2024: UN

Messenger Online

Published: 18:15, 29 May 2024

World unemployment to fall slightly in 2024: UN

Photo: Collected 

Global unemployment is set to fall slightly this year, a United Nations agency said Wednesday (29 May), reversing its previous prediction of a rise while warning of "slow progress" on tackling inequalities.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) expects a global unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in 2024, after originally forecasting unemployment would rise to 5.2 percent this year from five percent in 2023.

In a report, the Geneva-based UN agency forecasts that the rate will stay at 4.9 percent in 2025.

However, the ILO cautioned that "inequalities in labour markets persist, with women in low-income countries particularly affected."

The report found that 183 million people meet the definition of unemployed, meaning they are actively looking for work and are immediately available. But the number of people without a job who wanted to work stood at 402 million.

The agency also said women were more likely to be unwillingly out of work and disproportionately affected by a lack of opportunities.

Women in low-income countries were especially hard-hit, with 22.8 percent who wanted a job not in work, compared with 15.3 percent for men.

For high-income countries, the rate stood at 9.7 percent for women and 7.3 percent for men.

The report also warned that these differences were just the "tip of the iceberg" as women were much more likely than men to have left the labour force altogether.

Worldwide, the report estimated that 45.6 percent of women of working age were employed in 2024. For men, the figure was 69.2 percent.

"Despite our efforts to reduce global inequalities, the labour market remains an uneven playing field," ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo is quoted as saying in a press release.

"To achieve a sustainable recovery whose benefits are shared by all... we must place inclusion and social justice at the core of our policies and institutions," Houngbo said.

The ILO is the oldest specialised UN agency and brings together employers, unions and governments from around the world.

Messenger/Sumon

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