According to the UN, 2003 saw a rise in global unemployment:

“It’s too early to say the worst is over,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “However, if current estimates of global growth and domestic demand hold steady or improve over the coming year, the global employment picture may brighten somewhat in 2004.” Despite the pickup in economic growth after a two-year slump, the 2003 figures remained at record levels for men and women and escalated more sharply among young people, aged 15-24, the report says.

“Our greatest concern is that if the recovery falters and our hopes for more and better jobs are further delayed, many countries will fail to cut poverty by half as targeted by the Millennium Development Goals for 2015,” Mr. Somavia adds. “But we can reverse this trend and reduce poverty if policy-makers stop treating employment as an afterthought and place decent work at the heart of macroeconomic and social policies.”

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