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OECD says Unemployment Will Continue to Rise

Despite reports that many industrialized economies are beginning to emerge from their worst economic crisis in decades, unemployment is rising and will likely reach a historic peak of nearly 10 percent next year. The findings come from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

Indications that unemployment continues to rise is grim news for leaders heading to the G-20 summit in the United States next week. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports unemployment reached its highest level among industrialized nations of 8.5 percent in July.

OECD unemployment division chief Stephan Scarpetta says the number of jobless among the OECD's 30 member countries is expected to climb even higher next year, to nearly 10 percent. That translates into 57 million people out of work.

"Unfortunately, despite the most recent indicators that suggest the [economic] recovery may be in sight somewhat earlier than we were expecting only a few months ago, it will take far [longer] for the recovery to materialize in terms of significant improvement in the labor market," he said.

The United States, Spain and Ireland are among those countries with the fastest rising unemployment. All three were affected by the collapse of high housing prices. The damage spread to other sectors of the economy.

Scarpetta says young people are among the hardest hit. In Spain, for example, more than one in three young workers are unemployed.

So as world leaders discuss the financial and economic crisis during their meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Scarpetta says it is important they also address the social dimensions of the crisis - like unemployment.

"The good news is that countries have already acted quite quickly and decisively, I would say," he said. "Part of the stimulus packages have been additional resources for labor markets and social policies."

But efforts by governments to extend and prolong unemployment benefits, and to offer more job counseling and training have not kept up with the rising numbers of jobless. Scarpetta says that means countries will need to target their resources more selectively and to ensure that the most vulnerable members of the labor force benefit.