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Friday February 23, 2024

Gloomy forecast

By Editorial Board
January 23, 2023

Unemployment has already been accelerating around the world for the past two years or so, but with a global economic slowdown, more workers are expected to be forced into lower-quality and poorly-paid jobs in 2023. This will be further compounded by even more inflation that will consume real-term wages. All this has come to light with the latest ‘World Employment and Social Outlook’ report of the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO). There is no good news for common consumers and workers as prices will rise faster than incomes and that will result in a crisis of cost-of-living around the world that has already taken an ugly shape after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. As more people will find themselves in extreme poverty, they will be forced to work for meagre wages and low-quality jobs even if they are more qualified and trained for better employment.

A decent and gainful employment is everyone’s right but the impending deficits in livelihood opportunities will worsen the working conditions for workers in developing countries. The ILO has warned that multiple crises are in the offing and overlapping issues such as Russia’s war in Ukraine and other geopolitical tensions around the world will not allow the denizens of this globe to fully recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which is still around. A resurgence in the pandemic could create supply chain bottlenecks once again that may reach the level of stagflation with high inflation and low growth. To top it all, the globe is facing climate change and resultant humanitarian challenges.

In this gloomy picture, where does Pakistan stand? There are a couple of points to ponder: one, the projections of a slowdown in economic activities have already been materializing in Pakistan. Two, employment growth opportunities are diminishing at a faster pace than anticipated. If Pakistan expects to fully recover from the impact of the superfloods in the foreseeable future, it needs to devise a proper mechanism to take full advantage of the commitments that donor countries have made to Pakistan. With this slow pace of recovery, the country will not be able to reduce pressures of unemployment looming large. The gloomy outlook should not dampen the spirit of the government of Pakistan, nor should it reduce our expectations of a better future which may be hard to think of right now but is not impossible to achieve.