The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued a warning in its latest report, “World Employment and Social Outlook Trends: 2024,” stating that the global economic slowdown is poised to impact job creation in the coming year.
Despite the resilience observed in 2023, the report suggests that the lagging nature of employment indicators may finally catch up with the labor market.
According to the report, global employment growth is expected to slow down significantly, with rates plummeting to 0.8 per cent in 2024 and 1.1 per cent in 2025 – less than half the growth experienced in 2023.
“In this difficult context, policymakers are confronted with tough decisions. Boosting economic growth will be essential to escape from our current crisis vortex, but it must be quality economic growth that not only creates more jobs but also makes working conditions better, our societies more resilient and our future sustainable,” ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo noted.
High-income countries are particularly vulnerable, with employment growth projected to turn negative in 2024, showing only modest improvements in 2025. Conversely, low-income and lower-middle-income countries are anticipated to maintain robust job gains.
In a notable shift from 2023, where female employment growth outpaced that of men, the report predicts that in 2024, employment growth among women will lag behind that of men. This gender disparity is expected to persist, particularly in emerging and developing countries.
The report also highlights concerns about declining labor force participation rates in the coming years, despite modest increases observed in 2023.
As employment growth slows and participation rates decline, global unemployment rates are projected to remain stable, edging up from 5.1 per cent in 2023 to 5.2 per cent in 2024 and remaining unchanged in 2025.
The rise in unemployment rates is primarily attributed to high-income countries, expecting a 0.2 percentage point increase to reach 4.7 percent in 2024.
The gender gap in labor force participation remains evident, with women’s unemployment rates expected to remain stable at 5.3 per cent throughout the forecast period.
Youth unemployment rates continue to pose a significant challenge, as young individuals struggle to find decent jobs and acquire relevant skills.
This issue persists despite the comprehensive assessment provided by the ILO report on various labor market trends, including unemployment, job creation, labor force participation, and hours worked.
As the global economy navigates the challenges posed by the economic slowdown, policymakers and businesses are urged to implement measures that support job creation and address the persistent gender and youth unemployment gaps highlighted in the ILO report. The coming years may require a coordinated effort to ensure inclusive and sustainable employment opportunities for all.