One in three workers worldwide is either living in poverty or unemployed -- a share that totals about 1.1 billion people -- according to the International Labour Organization's Global Employment Trends 2012 report. And the employment crisis may actually be worse than many think. The report found that if all of the nearly 29 million workers that were expected to participate in the labor force before the 2008 financial crisis were taking part, than the global unemployment rate would swell to 6.9 percent from its current 6 percent. As it stands now, those workers have simply become discouraged and dropped out of the workforce.
One factor driving the global jobs crisis could be the elevated levels of unemployment in many countries in the eurozone, which is currently in the midst of crisis. In Spain, the unemployment rate was 22.9 percent as of November, while in Greece the unemployment rate is 18.8 percent. And citizens the world over seem to be concerned. Unemployment is the globe's fastest rising worry, according to a December BBC poll.
"Despite strenuous government efforts, the jobs crisis continues unabated," ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said in the report. "What is needed is that job creation in the real economy must become our number one priority."
The findings come after a spate of U.S. employment data indicating that the jobs crisis at home may be getting better. Weekly claims for unemployment insurance plunged to their lowest level in nearly four years last week, according to the Labor Department. In addition, the jobless rate dropped to 8.5 percent in December as the U.S. added 200,000 jobs.
Still, the gains may come at a price. Many new manufacturing workers are getting hired on with salaries $10 to $15 below current workers and they many not catch up for years, according to The New York Times. The low wages and lack of jobs are having dire consequences for Americans. Twenty percent of children are living in poverty in half of U.S. states, in addition, nearly half of U.S. households lack basic economic security, according to a November report.
Globally, the jobs crisis is also having a huge impact on workers and their families. The number of people in vulnerable employment -- a combination of the self-employed and unpaid family workers -- increased by 136 million between 2000 and 2009, the ILO report found.
In addition, the number of unemployed youth has also increased in recent years. Nearly 75 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed in 2011, a boost of more than 4 million since 2007, the report found. And those unemployed youth living in the U.S. are costing taxpayers big bucks. Every unemployed young American costs U.S. taxpayers nearly $14,000 per year, according to a recent report for the Corporation for National and Community Service and the White House Council for Community Solutions.