From the TUC

ILO tells G20 that Government investment has saved 7-11 million jobs

19 Sep 2009, by in Economics, International, Labour market

Demonstrating once again how indispensable it is in a crisis, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued a report to this week’s G20 setting out the impact of Government interventions on jobs – at a time when unemployment globally could hit 241 million. Their bottom  line (see press release) is that those interventions saved or created 7-11 million jobs in G20 countries alone, as against 25 million jobs definitely lost. But they warn also that if the recovery measures are removed too soon (as British Conservatives are advocating, for example), unemployment will lurch upwards again – the report says:

Expansionary fiscal measures to generate jobs and boost aggregate demand should be continued, and where necessary enhanced, until such time as private demand is sufficiently robust to sustain growth and employment.

The report assesses Government interventions in 54 countries against the measures advocated in the Global Jobs Pact which the London G20 asked the ILO to draw up, and which has now been endorsed by the G8 and the EU – the G20 is also expected by unions to do likewise. The ILO found that:

The six measures with the highest frequency are: spending on infrastructure; subsidies and tax reductions for small enterprises; credit for small enterprises; training programmes and facilities; consultations with employers’ and workers’ organisations; and social protection through cash transfers.


The report also noted that not enough attention has been given to additional measures designed to fight labour trafficking and child labour, stimulate access by small enterprise to public tenders, promote consultations at the sectoral level, increase capacity for labour inspection and protect migrant workers.

The ILO report is a remarkably useful and easy to read assessment of the situation, and it’s true to the tripartite spririt of the organisation that, rather than watch the report get leaked like most of the documents before the G20 in Pittsburgh this week, the ILO put their report straight into the public domain. ILO Director-General Juan Somavia has won, with union pressure, a seat at the G20 table, and attended the Italian G8 for the first time too. He says:

Unemployment remains massive today as a result of the crisis. If the special measures taken are unwound or withdrawn too early, the jobs crisis may worsen even further. For people worldwide, and in particular for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, the crisis will not be perceived as receding until they get a decent job and a minimum floor of social protection. A jobless recovery would not be socially or politically sustainable.

The role the ILO has played in the crisis underlines, as mentioned above, its indispensability in a crisis. If Governments considered it to be similar indispensable outside of crises, as unions do, I suspect there would be fewer crises anyway!