OECD: Jobless may near 10%

ROME - UNEMPLOYMENT may near 10 per cent in the member states of Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development except Japan by 2010, the OECD said in a paper released on Sunday.

'By the end of 2010, the unemployment rates could be approaching a double-digit figure in all G8 countries with the sole exception of Japan, as well as in the OECD area as a whole,' the OECD said in a background paper for a labour ministers' meeting in Rome.

'If these projections were to materialise, the number of unemployed people in the OECD area would have risen in the three years to 2010 by an amount even larger than that observed ... over the ten-year period to the early 1980s, which included the two oil shocks,' the document said.

'Historical experience suggests that it can take a long time to overcome such large increases in unemployment,' the paper said.

'Indeed, some G-8 countries never got back to the pre-crisis unemployment lows,' it added. While the paper was released to journalists on Sunday, the OECD said it would formally release the 'interim projections' on Tuesday.

The OECD, the International Labour Organisation and the International Organisation of Employers are all taking part in a three-day meeting of labour and social ministers to discuss the human cost of the world financial crisis.

The OECD, which groups 30 industrialised democratic countries, serves as a policy adviser and a forum for debate about economic and political issues.

The paper said average OECD unemployment was 6.9 pe rcent in January 2009 - almost one per cent higher than a year earlier.

'This implies that in the year to January 2009, almost 7.2 million more workers joined the unemployment ranks in the OECD area,' the paper said.

'Previous economic downturns indicate that youth, low-skilled and temporary workers, as well as immigrants, are likely to bear the brunt of rapidly rising unemployment and working hours,' the document said.

'So far, this is also the case in the current downturn,' it added. -- AFP


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