Joblessness in the debt-stricken euro area may rise by another five million people over the next four years, a UN labor office maintains. It argues the current austerity drive will worsen labor market conditions.
Joblessness threatens to rise to 22 million people over the next four years in the 17-nation eurozone, the International Labor Organization (ILO) stated in a report released in Geneva on Wednesday.
The United Nations labor office said the number of people out of work in the euro area could easily swell by another five million from the 17.4 million unemployed at present, unless effective measures were taken to reverse the trend.
The ILO urged governments across the single currency bloc to bring about a policy shift "out of the austerity trap," casting doubt on whether current strict budget consolidation rules were doing more harm than good by stunting growth in some member countries.
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"The report shows that by embracing a eurozone growth strategy with jobs at its core, a recovery is still possible," the ILO document said. "But the window of opportunity is closing."
The labor office suggested a series of measures to fuel employment in the euro area, such as making credit easier to obtain for small and medium-sized companies as well as putting in more training for young people and school-to-work programs.
ILO Director-General Juan Somavia warned the eurozone was in its worst employment crisis ever since the single currency was introduced in 1999, adding that joblessness among young people was of special concern with over 50 percent of all youths out of work in Greece and Spain.