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16/09/2009 - Governments must act fast and decisively to prevent the recession turning into a long-term unemployment crisis, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Employment is the bottom line of the current crisis. It is essential that governments focus on helping jobseekers in the months to come,” he said at the launch of the OECD’s Employment Outlook 2009. He also argued for a co-ordinated policy response to the crisis and urged policy makers not to forget the plight of those in the developing world that often can not benefit from well-designed social protection systems.
Despite early signs of economic recovery, in most countries unemployment will rise further next year and remain high for the immediate future. The unemployment rate has already reached a post-war record high at 8.5% in the OECD area, corresponding to an increase in more than 15 million in the ranks of the unemployed since the end of 2007. If the recovery fails to gain momentum, the OECD unemployment rate could even approach a new post-war high of 10%,with 57 million people out of work.
In light of this, the report argues, governments must urgently reassess and adapt their labour market and social policies in order to prevent people from falling into the trap of long-term unemployment.
But, the report warns, they must be temporary and well-targeted, otherwise they could become an obstacle to recovery by propping up declining firms and making it harder for expanding ones to hire new workers. As part of an overall strategy to tackle the jobs crisis, the OECD also recommends governments to:
Country findings are available for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. A two-page summary and a video are also available.
Read the Secretary-General's full speech.
The OECD’s Employment Outlook is also the main reference for the OECD Employment and Labour Ministerial meeting to be held in Paris on 28-29 September 2009.
For comment or further information, journalists should contact Stefano Scarpetta, head of the OECD’s Employment division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 19 88).
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