Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

Unemployment without borders

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The G-8 countries convened in Italy July 8 at a time of a global jobs crisis: The International Labor Organization (ILO) predicts that 51 million jobs will be lost globally in the current financial downturn. ILO has also proposed a way to soften the blow through a Global Jobs Pact that calls on governments to work with unions and employers to implement certain crisis-response measures that would help sustain enterprises and accelerate job creation while strengthening social safety nets. Recent history shows that such programs pay off. Germany, for instance, has seen a drop in its GDP similar to other industrialized countries, but has not had the steep rise in unemployment that many other industrialized countries have seen. In fact, Germany’s unemployment has risen only modestly, from 7.4% in April 2008 to 7.7% in April 2009. Over that same one-year period, U.S. unemployment soared from 5.5% to 8.9%. A series of crisis-response programs in Germany includes one that pays employers to retain full payrolls even as demand and production fall. –Tony Avirgan


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