The International Labour Organization has warned about the prospect of a global job crisis, as the worst recession since the end of World War II forces businesses to lay off workers.
The agency said last week that the number of unemployed could climb to between 18 million and 30 million in 2009—even as high as 50 million in case the world economy implodes. Some of the early signs show that this forecast is not alarmist. The US unemployment rate is already at its highest since 1992. Joblessness is rising in Europe. China could have already lost 20 million jobs as its export machines crumble. Indian companies may have shed half a million jobs, says the government. And more job losses may certainly be in store.
A sudden rise in unemployment is both a human tragedy and a threat to social stability. The public policy implication is quite obvious. In the absence of a proper social security system, the government may have to pay more heed to the unemployment problem in the months ahead.