The Unemployment Picture in 2016

From the International Jobs Report–January 2016

Figure 1 provides a measure of the global unemployment rate based on data for 116 countries, of which 37 countries are classified as ‘advanced’ (i.e. high-income) countries and the remaining 79 as ‘emerging market and developing economies.’ (We refer to the second group using the acronym ‘EMDE’.)

Let’s begin with how the global unemployment picture looked before the IMF’s January 2016 WEO Update. Figure 1 provides a measure of the global unemployment rate based on data for 116 countries, of which 37 countries are classified as ‘advanced’ (i.e. high-income) countries and the remaining 79 as ‘emerging market and developing economies.’ (We refer to the second group using the acronym ‘EMDE’.) Focusing on the recent cycle, global unemployment rate peaked in 6.2 percent in 2009 and has since been returning slowly to its pre-crisis level. Over the coming year, the global unemployment rate is expected to go up slightly.

To understand where this increase is coming from, Figure 2 shows the unemployment rate for the two main groups of countries separately. This reveals that the increase comes from the emerging markets and developing countries (EMDE) group. Moreover, the increase in unemployment among this group occurs because of the expected increase in unemployment among fuelexporting countries (Figure 3).


How will the growth revisions affect the unemployment picture?

Now let’s consider how the revisions to the growth forecasts that the IMF announced in the January 2016 WEO Update could change the unemployment picture. At the global level, the forecast for GDP growth in 2016 was revised down by 0.2 percent, which would in turn increase the global unemployment rate only a little bit above the path projected in Figure 1. However, for some countries the revisions in growth forecasts are larger, as shown in Figure 4 below. The biggest change is in Brazil, followed by Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Russia.

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Labels: Unemployment

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