Youth unemployment over 10% in most Asia-Pacific nations: ILO

Written by Raj Kumar Ray | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 21 2013, 20:40pm hrs
YouthGlobal slowdown has taken a heavy toll on jobs in most Asian nations with youth unemployment rising over 10%. Express Photo
Global slowdown has taken a heavy toll on jobs in most Asian nations -- including India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Philippines and Indonesia -- with youth unemployment rising over 10% during 2013, International Labour Organisation said in a report.

While employment growth has remained below 3% in most parts in Asia Pacific region, unemployment rate was about 5%.

In India, the employment grew by an annual average 1.5% to 472.9 million in 2011-12 from 459 million in 2009-10, according to the latest NSSO survey. Latest labour ministry data show unemployment rate was at 4.7% in 2012-13. The unemployment level may have worsened as the GDP growth slipped to 4.6% in April-September 2013-14 from 9.3% in 2010-11.

The situation is much gloomier in other nations such as Indonesia, Philippines and Pakistan, where unemployment rate is running at over 6%.

"The weak global economic environment is testing many Asia-Pacific labour markets. While some economies have been resilient, others are showing fragility. Employment trends are slowing in some key markets, and progress on enhancing job quality has been feeble," ILO said in the report.

What's worrisome is the rising youth unemployment among fresh graduates continue to face difficulty in getting decent jobs. In eight out of fourteen economies excluding India, youth unemployment rate was around 10% or


"In India, youth unemployment is around one in ten overall, but nearly one in four among better educated young women from wealthier, middle class families," ILO said.

In Sri Lanka, more than one in five youth in the labour force was unemployed as the situation worsened compared with the previous year, especially for young women. Likewise in Indonesia and the Philippines, youth unemployment was around 1718%, with higher rates for young women than men.

In New Zealand, unemployment among youth declined on an annual basis in September but still stood at 15.9%, ILO said. Apart from the dearth of quality jobs, ILO said a majority of the regions workers remain informally employed.

"In India, for example, the proportion of informal workers is still around eight in ten, and the vast majority of new jobs created in the organized sector in recent years were informal in that they did not provide access to benefits or social security," it added.

Job quality is particularly low in the regions agriculture sector, where workers typically lack the skills and opportunities to access better quality jobs that are more productive and secure.

"With limited stability, earnings and protection, precarious and informal jobs leave workers and their families highly vulnerable especially in situations of economic, social or environmental crisis," ILO cautioned.