ILO sees problems ahead in 2017

The International Labour Organization(ILO) warns that as inequality widens in many countries more social unrest is likely. The number of protest activities had increased last year.

For 2017 there is a background of economic and political uncertainty. The ILO report is downbeat about the prospects for the labour market. The report also predicted that migration could increase over the next decade as job-seekers left their home countries seeking better jobs.
According to the report in the World Employment and Social Outlook, the social unrest index jumped from 2015 to 2016. The index was above its long-term average for the past four decades. The ILO report comes on the heels of a World Economic Forum Report which claimed that inequality and polarization within societies was creating a risk for the global economy in 2017. The WEF report said that growing inequality was behind the recent Brexit vote in the U.K. and the election of Donald Trump in the United States.
The ILO notes that there were anti-austerity protests in Brazil, industrial action in the UK, and demonstrations against Donald Trump's election in the U.S. ILO tracking showed that social unrest and discontent had risen in almost all regions.
Steve Tobin, senior economist for the ILO said:“There is growing uncertainty everywhere it would seem, whether it’s economic or political. This is something we seem to be living with and they are reinforcing one another. The ability to protest is a good thing... we should take some solace in the fact that people are able to demonstrate but it speaks to the notion that something is broken. It speaks to discontent with the socioeconomic situation, with finding a quality job and being able to share in the gains of whatever limited prosperity there is.”
Economic growth will continue to disappoint and this will be accompanied by more unemployment. Global unemployment is expected to rise by 3.4 million people this year raising the global unemployment rate to 5.8 compared to 5.7 in 2016. In northern Africa women were twice as likely as men to be unemployed in 2017.
The report noted that the percentage of working-age people willing to migrate to other countries increased in most regions of the world excluding South Asia, South-east Asia and the Pacific. The report predicted that the percentage would continue to increase. The report suggested that countries needed to provide a coordinated fiscal stimulus by increasing public investment. However, problems such as income inequality had also to be confronted. The report notes that technological advances will also continue and countries need to be prepared to meet the inevitable problems technological advances create.


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