The International Labour Organisation (ILO) said on Monday that the global economy was on the verge of a new and deeper jobs recession.
It said the current crisis would further delay the global economic recovery and may ignite more social unrest in scores of countries across the EU and Arab world.
“We have reached the moment of truth. We have a brief window of opportunity to avoid a major double-dip in employment,” said Raymond Torres, director of the ILO International Institute for Labour Studies in a new report.
The World of Work Report 2011 said a stalled global economic recovery has begun to dramatically affect labour markets.
On current trends, it said it will take at least five years to return employment in advanced economies to pre-crisis levels, one year later than projected in last year’s report.
The report indicated that 80 million jobs need to be created over the next two years to return to pre-crisis employment rates.
However, the recent slowdown in growth suggests that the world economy is likely to create only half of the jobs needed, it added.
The report also features a new “social unrest” index that shows levels of discontent over the lack of jobs and anger over perceptions that the burden of the crisis is not being shared fairly.
It said that in more than 45 of the 118 countries examined, the risk of social unrest is rising, notably the EU, the Arab region and to a lesser extent Asia.
The study showed that nearly two-thirds of advanced economies and half of emerging and developing economies with recent available data are once again experiencing a slowdown in employment.
This comes on top of an already precarious employment situation in which global unemployment is at its highest point ever, surpassing 200 million worldwide.
The study said out of 118 countries with available data, 69 countries showed an increase in the percentage of people reporting a worsening of living standards in 2010 compared to 2006.
Respondents in half of 99 countries surveyed said they did not have confidence in their national governments.
The report calls for maintaining and in some cases strengthening pro-employment programmes, warning that efforts to reduce public debt and deficits have often disproportionately focused on labour market and social measures.