The New York Times is reporting that a U.N. agency has joined the roster of individuals and organizations, including the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union, and the U.S. Military, that have warned about the risks posed by continuing economic malaise:
PARIS — Job creation in advanced economies in the wake of the global economic crisis is increasingly being delayed, bringing a heightened threat of social unrest, the International Labor Organization said in a report released Friday.
In its annual “World of Work Report,” the I.L.O. said that the withdrawal of stimulus measures and the failure of many Western economies to change laws or rules that limit job creation meant that employment growth would remain stagnant through 2010, and only return to precrisis levels in 2015, at the earliest. In the report last year, the I.L.O. had said that this should occur by 2013.
The report warns of “heightened socioeconomic insecurity around the world.” It cited cases of unrest related to the financial and economic crisis in at least 25 countries, out of 82 with available information, in the form of protests against austerity measures and other government actions, demonstrations against employers and violent clashes between the authorities and protesters.
Perceptions of unfairness are growing, the report added, and people have less confidence in governments than they did before the crisis. This scale of the decline, it said, was unprecedented in the historical data on such perceptions, gleaned from surveys that asked respondents to rank their personal satisfaction and go back as far as 1982 for some advanced nations.
Compared with the data from the 1980s and the 1990s, developed economies in Western Europe and economies in Central and Eastern Europe show some of the most severe declines in life satisfaction.
Western Europe has had the sharpest decline in people’s satisfaction with their lives, the report found. The decline in Spain was particularly severe, reflecting the drastic change in the economy from 2006, when Spaniards were enjoying rapid growth, to 2009, when the bubble burst, bringing higher unemployment.
In Spain and elsewhere, individuals are adjusting to this jobless recovery by taking jobs below their expectations — in terms of hours, wages and skills — or in the informal economy, the I.L.O. said.
“If there is one lesson that can be drawn from history,” the report said, “it is that the current environment of social malaise should be a wake-up call for policy makers.”