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18 May, 2012

Job-rich Growth Essential for G20 Recovery, say OECD & ILO


Joint statement by ILO Director-General Juan Somavia and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the occasion of the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers Meeting, Guadalajara, Mexico, 17 May 2012

17/05/2012 – We, the Heads of the International Labour Organization and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, call upon the Ministers of Labour and Employment of the G20 countries to put a greater, renewed emphasis on employment policies that will help economies accelerate and sustain the recovery, achieve higher levels of decent work and get out of the debt trap.

Job creation remains weak in many countries, and too low to reabsorb the mass of unemployed and under-employed. As outlined in one of our joint background papers prepared for the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers meeting, unemployment rates are still close to the peak reached during the downturn in a number of countries. By the end of 2011, some 109 million persons were unemployed across G20 countries, not counting discouraged workers.

All G20 countries face considerable employment challenges, yet they vary significantly across countries. Some face the urgent challenge of bringing down unacceptably high levels of unemployment. In the G20 countries, some 21 million jobs would need to be generated in order just to recover the pre-crisis employment rate. But many G20 countries also face the major challenge of promoting a transition from precarious and informal employment to quality jobs. Promoting job-rich growth and raising the quality of employment in order to achieve decent work is a challenge for all.

In particular, we call on Ministers to do more to help young people. In the G20 countries, some 37 million young men and women are currently out of work and some 40 million jobs have to be created every year just to match the growth in the working-age population.  In addition to employment oriented policies, measures to better prepare young men and women through broad access to basic education and vocational training can facilitate the transition to the labour market. Particular emphasis should be placed on dual studying and working arrangements, such as apprenticeships and internships, which work very well in some countries in securing successful transitions from school to work. We encourage Ministers to deliver bold recommendations to Leaders at the Los Cabos Summit to give hope for the future of our youth,  a concern which touches every family.

The Mexico G20 Presidency has placed sustainable development and green growth on the G20 agenda. Our joint background document emphasizes the labour market challenges and opportunities of measures to address climate change. Policies to promote energy efficiency, clean energy and sustainable development open major opportunities for the generation of employment and decent work. But the transition will inevitably also destroy jobs in carbon intensive sectors so adjustment measures should be in place.

Mutually-reinforcing environment, labour market and social protection policies, with extensive dialogue with social partners, can make this a just transition benefitting growth and employment.

It is critical that the G20 agenda delivers on economic growth and on jobs, as called for by the G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth. The short and medium-term challenges faced by G20 countries call for new measures. We encourage the G20 to consider, in particular, the promotion of investment in infrastructure, ensuring continued access of SMEs to bank credit, freeing up product markets in ways that promote job creation, expanding the coverage of basic social protection, and ensuring all youth achieve a smooth transition from school to work.

We are convinced that employment, labour market, social protection and environment policies are critical components of an overall policy package to ensure a rapid recovery in economic growth and more equitable outcomes for people.

In all these areas, G20 cooperation is essential to put the global economy onto a stronger and more balanced and inclusive footing. G20 Ministers can count on the on-going active collaboration between the ILO and the OECD to help them achieve this objective.