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Unemployment in Sub-Sahara Africa to hit 7.2% in 2018, says ILO



The unemployment rate in the sub-Sahara is expected to rise to 7.2% in 2018 with additional one million new entrants into the joblessness population, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.

According to the report tagged, ‘World Employment and Social Outlook: Tend 2018’ the additional one million unemployed persons is influenced by the region’s high levels of labour force growth.

It stated that more than one in three workers is living in conditions of extreme poverty, while almost three out of four workers are in vulnerable employment.

The report said the global unemployment rate has been stabilizing after a rise in 2016. It is expected to have reached 5.6 per cent in 2017, with the total number of unemployed exceeding 192 million persons.


As the long-term global economic outlook remains modest despite stronger than expected growth in 2017, the report attributed the positive trend between 2017 and 2018 mainly to the strong performance of labour markets in developed countries, where the unemployment rate is projected to fall by an additional 0.2 percentage points in 2018 to reach 5.5 per cent, a rate below pre-crisis levels.

In contrast, employment growth is expected to fall short of labour force growth in emerging and developing countries, but has nevertheless improved compared to 2016.

In his reaction to the new findings, the Director General of the ILO, Guy Ryder said: “Even though global unemployment has stabilized, decent work deficits remain widespread: the global economy is still not creating enough jobs. Additional efforts need to be put in place to improve the quality of work for jobholders and to ensure that the gains of growth are shared equitably.”

The report highlighted the fact that the significant progress achieved in the past in reducing vulnerable employment has essentially stalled since 2012. This means that almost 1.4 billion workers are estimated to be in vulnerable employment in 2017, and that an additional 35 million are expected to join them by 2019. In developing countries, vulnerable employment affects three out of four workers.

On a more positive note, the report noted that working poverty continues to fall in emerging countries, where the number of people in extreme working poverty is expected to reach 176 million in 2018, or 7.2 per cent of all employed people.

“In developing countries though, progress in reducing working poverty is too slow to keep up with the expanding labour force. The number of workers living in extreme poverty is expected to remain stubbornly above 114 million for the coming years, affecting 40 per cent of all employed people in 2018,” ILO Economist, Stefan Kühn, who is the lead author of the report said.

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Guy RyderILOStefan Kühn
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