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ILO: More than 200 Million People are Unemployed


FILE - Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) gestures during a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, May 26, 2014.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging private businesses to invest more in workers and support efforts to reduce unemployment around the world.

The ILO released a report on Monday. It is called World Employment and Social Outlook 2017: Sustainable Enterprises and Jobs.

The report states that more than 201 million people worldwide are jobless. It said that number represents an increase of 3.4 million people compared to 2016.

The ILO says private companies, especially small- and medium-sized ones, can help to create good jobs around the world.

The ILO study found that such companies employ almost 3 billion workers, or 87 percent of total employment worldwide. And it says a strong public sector can serve as the base for economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction.

Deborah Greenfield is the ILO’s deputy director-general for policy. She says investing in workers is important for continued growth. Greenfield notes that providing training for permanent workers results in higher wages, higher productivity and lower unit labor costs. But she said many part-time and temporary workers are losing out.

“But intensified use of temporary employment is associated with lower wages and lower productivity without achieving any gains in unit labor costs. The report also finds that on-the-job training is an important driver of innovation. Since temporary workers are rarely offered training, this might also affect innovation in firms in a negative way.”

The ILO report said in some cases, innovative thinking has led to the addition of more temporary workers, most of them women. That might be helpful in the short-term, the report said. But it keeps wages low and reduces productivity because of the unpredictability of temporary work and the lack of retirement and other benefits.

The ILO said innovation increases competitiveness and job creation for private businesses. It added that innovative companies are usually more productive, employ more educated workers, offer more training and add more women to the workforce.

I’m John Russell.

Lisa Schlein reported this story from Geneva for VOANews.com. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

sustainable – adj. able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed

enterprise – n. a business organization

public sector – n. the part of an economy which is controlled or owned by the government

unit – n. a particular amount of length, time, money, etc., that is used as a standard for counting or measuring; a single thing, person or group that is a part of something larger

innovate – v. to do something in a new way; to have new ideas about how something can be done

firm – n. a business organization

negative – adj. harmful or bad; not wanted

benefit – n. something extra (such as vacation time or health insurance) that is given by an employer to workers in addition to their regular pay

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