Almost 500 Million People Unemployed or Lack Access to Decent Jobs, UN Reports

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. decent / ˈdi sənt / (adj) – respectable or meeting a certain standard of quality

    The applicant submitted a decent output, so we will consider her application.

  2. insufficiency / ˌɪn səˈfɪʃ ən si / (n) – a condition wherein something is not enough

    Job insufficiency in the country led many workers to find employment opportunities abroad.

  3. keep up with (someone/something) / kip ʌp wɪθ / (idiom) – to progress at the same speed as someone or something

    My teammates work very fast! I can’t keep up with them.

  4. partially / ˈpɑr ʃəli / (adv) – in a manner that is not complete

    The lecturer only partially explained the topic in class, so we had to study the rest on our own.

  5. unrest / ʌnˈrɛst / (n) – a condition in which people are dissatisfied and angry, resulting in protests and acts of violence

    The United Nations aims to prevent global unrest and promote global peace and order.


Read the text below.

Almost 500 million people around the world do not have jobs or lack access to decent jobs, according to the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO).

The ILO releases its World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO) report annually to share updates and trends in employment, unemployment, and labor issues. For 2020, the report highlights the increasing unemployment rate, lack of opportunity for people to work more paid hours, and insufficiency of jobs for the growing workforce.

This year, the number of jobless people is expected to increase by 2.5 million. According to the ILO, unemployment around the world has been considerably steady for almost a decade. However, because of the slow growth of economies globally, the number of available jobs cannot keep up with the increasing workforce.

Findings also show that the global working population experiences income inequality, especially in developing countries. From 2020 to 2021, working people whose incomes fall below US$3.20 per day are also expected to increase. ILO chief Guy Ryder said the current global employment conditions make it difficult for many people to improve the quality of their lives through work.

The agency warns that the current labor trend is partially to blame for the global social unrest, such as the recent protests in Lebanon and Chile.

To create long-term solutions, the ILO recommends boosting all countries’ economies with the aim of reducing poverty and improving work conditions in developing nations. Shifting the focus of a country’s economic activity, such as prioritizing agriculture over manufacturing or vice versa, can be effective. The agency also considers technological advancement as a valuable element in economic development.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think more countries should open their markets to foreign investors to improve global employment? Why or why not?
• What do you think are some best practices the world can learn from your country in terms of providing decent jobs to people? Discuss.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, what are some indicators of a good quality of life? Discuss.
• What do you think can be done to boost the quality of life?