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AfricaMoney | October 19, 2017

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Global unemployment rises; Mauritius feels the heat too

Global unemployment rises; Mauritius feels the heat too

As many as 839 million workers –more than a quarter of the world’s labor force – live on $2 per day or less. (Image: ILO)

The International Labor Organization’s (ILO’s) prediction is that the jobless situation will only deteriorate in coming years, with 215 million unemployed people by 2018.

Job prospects around the world have been adversely impacted due to weak global recovery from the 2008 global economic downturn, with 202 million unemployed people in 2013, an increase of 5 million over 2012 figures.

A pressing issue identified by the agency is that the number of working poor is declining worldwide at a slower pace than in previous decades. As many as 839 million workers – equivalent to more than a quarter of the world’s labor force – live on $2 per day or less.

Further, according to the 2014 Global Employment Trends report published by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the younger generation are more affected by unemployment as they have difficulty landing their first job. Thus, they need support to integrate them into the labor force.

The youth unemployment rate, at 13%, is twice the overall global unemployment rate with the number of youth unemployed, aged 15 to 24, estimated to be 74 million, according to the report by the Geneva-based group.

Guy Ryder, director-general of ILO, declared that there is an urgent need from the world leaders in the crafting of a “policy re-think.” According to Ryder, the unemployment rate was high before the beginning of the financial crisis of 2008 and an additional of 60 million people were affected due to both the recession and the slower-than-expected recovery.

The latter added that in order to improve the situation of unemployment, stronger efforts are essential to support enterprises that create jobs.

Finally, the report highlights that, at a regional level, East Asia and South Asia as well as sub-Saharan Africa and Europe are more affected by the unemployment issue.

And, as Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading economy, Mauritius is no stranger to unemployment woes.

The island economy has experienced escalating joblessness with total unemployment rate rising to 8.7% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 7.8% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 8.0% in the first quarter of 2012.

With the slowdown of the Mauritian economy, evidenced by a continuous dip in growth from 5.5% in 2008 to 3.4% in 2012 and an expected 3.2% in 2013, job creation has also slowed down.

Also, in keeping with global trends of increasing youth unemployment, the number of Mauritian youth unemployed has increased by 39% during the period 2008 to 2012.

According to a report prepared by the Mauritius Employers’ Federation (MEF), one of the main causes of youth unemployment is the lack of adequate education, training and employable skills.

The MEF stated that education and training should be promoted to reduce youth unemployment. It further proposed that youth employment should be part of development strategies of the country.

With the ranks of the unemployed swelling each day, the government has felt the need to step in by introducing two programmes.

The Service to Mauritius programme (STM) consist of providing opportunities to tertiary level students to acquire skills, knowledge and experience at relatively high levels in government ministries and public sector institutions; while the Youth Employment Programme (YEP) aims at assisting the youth to find jobs.

Moreover, with GDP growth forecast at 3.7% for 2014, the private sector, alongside with the public sector, is expecting to recruit more.

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