back to article World heading for massive jobs slump

The early signs of another jobs slump are already apparent, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The body now estimates that employment in advanced economies won't return to levels seen before the global financial crisis until 2016. “We have reached the moment of truth. We have a brief window of …


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  1. Danny 5

    same here in Holland

    we've just recovered from reorganization #1 and are now headed for #2. you can see it coming from miles away. Sad thing is, it's kinda like bracing for a punch in the face, but at the last minute the blow diverts it's path and rams you in the stomach (i read this analogy somewhere before and though it was quite fitting).

    sucky economy with sucky future prospects, hard times coming our way, just when people started hoping the worst was behind us.

    1. Chris007

      @Danny 5

      "Sad thing is, it's kinda like bracing for a punch in the face, but at the last minute the blow diverts it's path and rams you in the stomach"

      Add to the end " - And then as you look down in surprise along comes the uppercut to take you out"

      1. Naughtyhorse

        not to mention the swift kick in the nuts while you are rolling round on the floor

  2. GrumpyJoe
    Thumb Down

    Whenever I see news like this

    I can't help but think - 'self-fulfilling prophecy'. The powerful read this news, it reinforces their fear, they restrict hiring, hiring goes down, prophecy fulfilled.

    Is nobody willing to even 'TRY' to be positive? How many news items on tonight's news could be classed as positive (I challenge you to do this).

    Fear sells. This is not the zombie apocalyse. Remember the fear over bird flu/swine flu.

    F**k them all.

    1. Just Thinking

      You do sometimes hear on the news "biggest fall in XYZ for 10 years" or "worst figures since 2003" and such. I can't help thinking, well the world didn't end back then, why would it now.

      It is very odd. In our society it only takes a certain percentage of the population to provide all the food, clothing, shelter and care we need. So the rest of us can spend our time doing things to make life more comfortable, interesting, enjoyable and rewarding for all of us.

      Why is that so hard?

    2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      I'm not sure that's how any sensible business operates.

      If you're a business, what the wider market is doing is really of little interest or concern when it comes to employment.

      Either a) You have a need for more staff, and thus have to hire more staff, b) You don't have a need for more staff, or a surplus of them, or c) You have a surplus of staff that aren't adding value to your business and you need to let them go.

      Of course, there's always a certain amount of pressure from budgets etc. that dictate you must let go of staff you need, or can't employ the staff you want because of market salaries, but that's merely detail - you can't do anything about it at those points.

      If business drops off, you need less staff to handle it and they "cost" you more than the value you're getting from them. If business booms, you need to hire more staff to cope. If you can just cull staff and not affect the business, you really were employing people who were unnecessary anyway (read: bad business, one synonym of which is "public sector"). If you find your business struggling, then current worldwide staffing levels really don't mean very much - you have to preserve the business. If you *need* to hire someone, then you hope there's enough suitably qualified and willing-to-work-for-the-wage people out there, but if there's not you still have to hire *somebody* anyway, or you wouldn't be hiring.

      Recent job losses are more a reflection of business stability. If you're culling jobs, it's because you were over-staffed or under-efficient. Sure, it can be a convenient excuse too, but businesses can't just go out and hire people to help ease a job crisis any more than they can keep people on when the business goes under.

      A business's primary aim, as stated in all the legal jargon that you agree to when you form a company, is to provide a good or service at a profit. They *aren't* there to create job positions, that's just a side-effect of the way they operate, so they have little interest in the greater vision of a government trying to reduce unemployment.

      Governments can try to create jobs as much as they like but where do you think the money / incentive for those positions come from? The taxpayer. We pay subsidies and other incentives to companies to create jobs in our particular area rather than somewhere else by giving them money (directly or indirectly through tax relief, etc.). That's not really a viable way to "create" jobs except temporarily. And it works, temporarily. But after a while, you realise that we're just paying people to do a "fake" job that can be put first on the culling list when the government needs money because it's valueless. While we pay the subsidy/incentive, they have value. The second that stops, they are removed.

      With the exception of the occasional temporary incentive / boom in a particular area, jobs create or kill themselves depending on demand for the associated business. The problem is that so few places actually run themselves like a business until things come down to the wire. You'll notice that, since the recession, a lot of places still aren't selling what people want and then complain about not having any business - bank staff disappeared overnight in many branches to be replaced by faceless machines, telephone centres are all off-shore and virtually non-English-speaking, energy companies want to throw smart-meters into your home (and put thousands of meter readers out of work), phone companies won't give you less than 18 month contracts unless you want some cheap plastic thing with no allowances, etc. etc. etc.

      In a recession, those who know how to do business continue on exactly as before and don't suddenly cull their staff. Kindle sales are through the roof - so people still have money to spend on the product that's right. It's all the people who see making profit during the height of business as the "pinnacle", which means they can splash cash on worthless junk forever after that. The entire dot-com boom was pretty much the same - you can make money but will you be around in 50 years?

      Ask yourself how did Woolworths, which started in the US and is still running there and in lots of other countries, go bust in the UK when it was focused on selling cheap products (perfect for recession-hit customers), when individual stores were bought by their own managers and continued running at a profit, when the online arm continued running at a profit, when the stores were sold off to rivals who picked up the same staff and still made a profit, etc.

      The current unemployment levels are really more a sign of worthless business management than anything else - whether that's sacking vital staff, cutting back in the areas that matter instead of the one's that don't (e.g. sacking frontline staff instead of expensive management), and getting rid of people that they never really needed anyway.

  3. Silverburn

    oh well

    There was me thinking of emmigrating too - looks like the grass won't be any greener anywhere else either.

    Maybe I'll go live in a cave or something, and wait for this 'civilisation' fad to pass.

  4. AndrueC Silver badge

    On the plus side, social unrest causes damage which often requires additional workers to make good. There's undoubtedly better ways to go about it though.

  5. hugh

    It's worse than a slump

    he's dead.

  6. Geoff Campbell

    There we go then.

    The job security offered by free-lance consultancy work is looking ever more useful, I have to say.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to Tax...

    ....companies that offshore jobs to cheap economies.

    Yes, I'm potentially at risk of this so there is a vested interest.

    Apologies for Anon, but can understand

  8. Winkypop Silver badge

    Once one Jobs goes.....

    ....others will follow.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, in Britain, the government is STILL convinced that removing 500k public sector jobs is the way to go :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In the Brown stuff

      because of the Brown stuff up.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No economy in history has ever or will ever public sector it's way to health.

      The simple fact is we can't afford to pay anything like the salary & pensions for anywhere close to the number of public sector staff we have, and we never could.

      It's upsetting that the previous government lied to you by pretending we could, but being upset doesn't change a thing.

      500k is a good start, but that is all it is. There will be more reductions to come: there has to be.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Unfortunately, private companies struggle when 500k people lose their incomes. So does the government, as half of what they are paid, returns back to the govt as taxes anyway.

        Optimising the workforce is one thing, causing a vacuum of jobs is more disruptive than a recession.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      They may be muppets 99% of the time, but they might actually be onto something with this one. It's government debt, so needs direct reduction in government spending. In some areas of the country, the public sector jobs outnumber the [true revenue generating] private sectors jobs. That's economic suicide.

      They may be able to reduce the job cuts by looking to parity with the private sector when it comes to salaries (upward and downward), rises, bonuses, pensions, holidays, performance-based culture etc.

  10. 404 Silver badge

    The US Jobs Plan?

    Where? When? Who?

    Only 'jobs plan' I'm aware of is Obama saving his - amongst the other politards due up in 2012.

    Perhaps the author could enlighten me.

    1. Figgus

      Well, he does have that tax hike he is trying to ram through, but the only "jobs" it creates are for the 3 big union supporters of his. Even the Dems in congress aren't jumping on board this one... LOL

      1. IT veteran

        Ha Ha

        Is that the reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the top 10%? Since the US is running a giant deficit (largely due to Bush turning a surplus into a deficit), raising taxes on the wealthiest is a good way to reduce it. Otherwise, ultimately, you need to raise taxes on the middle classes (like Cain is proposing - yep that's how the 9-9-9 plan will work). Cutting taxes IS NO guarantee that growth will follow, as much of the money will be diverted to off-shore havens by the rich, or spent on goods made in China.

        At least Obama HAS a jobs plan - republicans WANT the economy to tank, to help them next year. Which is the more cynical?

        Government cannot cut its way out of a slump - look what's happening in southern Europe and Ireland.

        1. Figgus

          Raiding taxes guarantees that growth will not follow, as much of the money will be diverted to off-shore havens by the rich, or invested in facilities that still make stuff in China.

          The bottom line is the government doesn't invest money as well as individuals do, because the government doesn't care when it loses money (see: Solyndra or any other green works project). To get growth, you need to get capital to VIABLE entities who can win the race. What we are doing now is picking the slowest entry, calling them the winner, and hobbling everyone else in a vain attempt to be correct.

          Cut spending. Cut subsides. Let companies fail. Let people fail. Until that happens, this so called "slump" is going to stick around and haunt us for a long long long time.

  11. Goat Jam

    It's Amazing

    ON the one hand we have "experts" telling us that "we" (ie the little people) need to spend more money buying crap that we don't need in order to move the economy out of recession while at the same time the same "experts" are collecting huge consultancy fees for pushing forward the process of helping companies offshore their workforce in order to cut costs.

    Somewhere, ultimately, these people have to come to the inevitable conclusion that an unemployed populace is quite literally unable to afford to purchase the sort of frivolous crap that they are trying to sell.

    IN other words, at some point, somethings gotta give.

    As far as I can see it's not rocket science, but as far as I can tell it may as well be if the ongoing behaviours of these so called "experts" is anything to go

  12. All names Taken

    My take?



    So what, get on with it and end up seeing how easy it is to avoid doom & gloom forecasts when motivated.

    Alternatively: who dares wins?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perception? Or fact?

    Quote: "...the perception that the burden of the crisis was being borne unevenly"

    Why is the word "perception" slipped in there? Does anyone actually believe that the burden is equally apportioned?

  14. Eraserhead

    Jobs plan

    US is not the only country to have a jobs plan:

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Stupid still think they can moneyprint their way out of a recession, eh?

    ...whereas moneyprinting actually leads the way INTO the recession.

    "only one major advanced economy - the United States - has announced a national jobs plan"

    Which ain't gonna work. There no longer is any money to inject into the economy. There is only paper to print. More economic bubbles like the stupid "housing boom" or "internet boom" and inflation ain't gonna help. And "taxing" just destroys employment and economic activity somewhere else. Notice that the only "national jobs plan" with serious money behind it is the military? Why isn't it enough? It employs people. It keeps the young ones from taking the jobs of seniors. (It also acts as Viagra for disgusting sh*t like McCain and Liebermann, but that's another discussion). Maybe it's a fat chunk of the causes of the current problems? But noo....


    Say no more. More business to destroy and economic blue-sky thinking to write into law? Why, sure. I mean, this universe is actually candyland, didn't you know that?

    "For more than a century, American progressives have convinced themselves that they could create a world that could circumvent the long-held laws of economics simply by dismissing these laws as illegitimate creations of human beings. Now that the US economy is locked into high unemployment, massive debt, and utter uncertainty, progressives have decided that what is needed is more of the same activity that put us here in the first place. They define such actions as "pragmatic." I would tend to classify such things as falling into what Einstein labeled as insanity: repeating something over and over and expecting different results. Einstein understood theory, and he also understood that one could not buck theories demonstrated to be true and correctly anticipate results that were apart from what the theory might predict."

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Optimism / pessimism

    If, when you look at a problem, you can't understand why it's such an issue; if the solution seems obvious to you when the rest of world is getting in a tizz about it; if you think "they" are manipulating you but can't actually _name_ anybody: then it's not them, it's you. Grow up.

  17. CheesyTheClown

    How about incentives to invest?

    Seems to me that if the governments were to use the carrot and stick to get more wall street gamblers to invest instead of gamble, a lot more can be accomplished. Increase taxes on stock trade gains and make long term investments in companies that actually make things and employee people tax free.

    So, if you were to take the billions of dollars being invested by private organizations and individuals on publicly traded stocks and increase the capitol gains taxes on those trades while making it so that money lost by that type of gambling doesn't give large tax relief, it would make it the gambling style of trading on wall street less attractive.

    Then make it so that if you invest in a company with 100 or less employees (in smaller countries make it 30 or less) and leave your investment in that company for a minimum of 2 years, any gains would be tax free. I strongly believe the taxes being paid by those companies and their employees would more than make up for the tax related losses and it would provide incentives to investors to help create more jobs instead of being the blood sucking gambling leeches that they are.

  18. JimC Silver badge

    Time to tax supermarket self service tills then...

    Really irritates me: we are short of low skilled jobs, so lets export more to China... I know the supermarkets claim they are not there to save money, in which case they could have no objection to each till paying the same tax as the PAYE and NI there would be on real people working the same hours...

  19. BrendHart


    So for another year I get to hear my jaguar driving bosses tell me how lucky I am to have a job when I get another 1% increase?

  20. Jacqui

    not for the good news

    AOL sacked thier AVAS teams and replaced them with injuns a while back and things went from good to horrific. Finally - they have once again ended up on the spamhaus blacklist! I wonder if they will be re-hiring christine and co at consultancy rates :-)

  21. as2003


    My "spin and manipulation" alarm just went off.

    > In 40 per cent of the 119 countries for which estimates could be performed, the risk of social unrest has increased significantly since 2010. Similarly, 58 per cent of countries show an increase in the percentage of people who report a worsening of standards of living. And confidence in the ability of national governments to address the situation has weakened in half the countries.

    So, potentially risk of social unrest has decreased in 60% of the countries?

    42% of countries *didn't* think their living standards worsened?

    50% of countries *didn't* see a loss of confidence in their government?

    It's possible, and doesn't sound so bad. We need more details on the underlying numbers.

    1. Chris007

      read the article

      (not that I disagree with your FUD title but you've not read it properly)

      "In 40 per cent of the ...... risk of social unrest has increased /significantly/ since 2010"

      This could mean that in the other 60% it's increased marginally since 2010 or dropped in 25% and risen slightly in 35% or <you get the drift>

      It would have been better to provide details on the other 60% but that would likely fail the FUD test and that wouldn't do for them.

      FAIL for the failure to explain the other 60% (not El Reg fault obvioulsy :) )

  22. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Move along. Nothing to see.

    What's less than honest is that our chattering classes claim that, from where we are, it could be otherwise.

    We've had a credit binge. Now we've overeaten of the Demand cake so much that it's gone. And without demand, what's the use of supply? Jobs are all about supply, which is in surplus.

    Today's jobs were robbed. In the UK, from the time Gordon divorced Prudence in 2000 through to the bust. Elsewhere due to various causes including banking folly and economic imbalances.

    1. IT veteran

      Oh Yeah?

      So we didn't have a massive banking collapse in this country - it was all Gordon's fault? But the rest of the world did? I'm not saying the last government (indeed, all governments since 1979) does not have to take its share of the blame, but I don't remember the opposition, well, opposing its measures before 2007. Indeed, they were calling for LESS banking oversight. And I think the banks should take a lot of the blame for trading bad debt etc.

  23. Shocked Jock

    Problems go further back

    The beginning of the problems dates from the discovery of North Sea Oil: it led Thatcher and subsequent governments to believe that they had free money to wreak their social warfare on those they despised and indulge in military adventures, regardless of the cost to industry (you know - the people that used to make things, before the UK became the Shareshop of the World). So unlike, say, Norway, we're hard up, unable to stimulate any industry but the financial ones, and have a political class in thrall to the likes of the City of London and the CBI.

    Economists have been feeding us the lie since the 1970s that markets are some kind of divinely-inspired angels, when actually they're just another means of social organisation, mostly reflecting the decisions of the Party Central Committee, the executive boardroom or the Eton Old Boys' cabinet. (Ultimately, what's the difference?)

    Real-life markets are not and never have been free in the sense in which the lunatic Austrian/US view believes: there are no perfect markets outside textbooks. Even if there were, they'd be unstable and push participants into agglomerating into monopolies. That's why a regulated market system works: you don't end up with Murdochs feeding you misinformation, nor retail banks gambling with depositors' funds. Oh, and you don't end up privatising what are useful public services, such as utilities and the health service. It's a bit like democracy (remember that?) - it may not be good, but it's a lot better than any of the alternatives.

  24. Eduard Coli
    Thumb Down

    No surprises really

    These are part of the tail end effects of outsourcing and work VISA abuse.

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