There are now 30 million more people without jobs around the world than before the global financial crisis began, the head of the International Labour Organisation said in remarks published yesterday.
The figures come amid a growing debate over the merits of austerity, especially in Europe, where painful budget-cutting has pushed jobless levels as high as 25 per cent in some countries, including debt-hit Greece and Spain.
"Global unemployment is still more than 30m higher than before the crisis," said Director-General Guy Ryder. "And nearly 40m more women and men have stopped looking for work ." He said around a third of the more than 200 million unemployed around the world are under 25.
"With the world's workforce growing by around 40m a year we face large and growing decent-work deficits stretching out years ahead.
"Of those employed, 900m women and men are unable to earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the $2 a day poverty line." Ryder said that figure would be 55 per cent lower if the poverty reduction trend seen before the crisis had been maintained.
"There is now an urgent need to revisit the timelines for fiscal balances, taking a much longer view of the time it will take to repair the damage done by the financial excesses of the pre-crisis period." On Thursday, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said too much austerity too quickly could cause difficulties, particularly if a number of economies were chasing targets at the same time.
This week the OECD said unemployment in advanced countries stood at 7.9pc, or around 47.8m people, 13.1m more than at the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.