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unemployment line

The global jobs crisis

By Tom Eley

New reports on unemployment, poverty and hunger released this week demonstrate that the global economic crisis is being used to effect a basic restructuring of social relations characterized by long-term high unemployment and the impoverishment of the working class.

An Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study released Wednesday reports that by the end of 2010, 10 million jobs will likely be lost among member states, bringing to 25 million the number of jobs eliminated in the thirty-member group of industrialized nations since the economic crisis began at the end of 2007.

The OECD unemployment rate climbed to 8.3 percent in June, the highest on record dating back to World War II, and a sharp increase from the close of 2007, when unemployment stood at 5.6 percent.

Among member states, Spain has the highest unemployment rate, at 18.1 percent, and is joined by two other countries hard hit by the housing bust—Ireland and the US—with the sharpest increases in unemployment this year. Since the beginning of 2007, unemployment rates in Spain, Ireland and the US have increased by 9.7 percent, 7.8 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

Official unemployment in the US stands at 9.7 percent and will surpass 10 percent next year, the OECD predicts. Unemployment levels in Germany, France, Italy and Canada are expected to rise rapidly by the end of next year, reaching 11.8 percent, 11.3 percent, 10.5 percent and around 10 percent, respectively.

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