[OPE] Hillel Ticktin, "Notes on the Last Few Months"

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sat Jan 17 2009 - 08:49:55 EST

At the moment there is a total world population of 6.7 billion of which about 3 billion (about 45%) are employed (ILO data) and circa 190 million "officially" unemployed (6%).

If world unemployment rose to 10% of the global labour force by 2010, this would mean circa 320 million+ unemployed, or an extra 130 million+ unemployed. If world unemployment rose to 20% (not very likely just now) then you would have in excess of 600 million unemployed globally. 600 million unemployed is about four times the size of the whole US workforce.

In the 1930s there was a total world population of about 2 billion. Guesstimate that circa 850 million of those were employed, and a maximal grand average unemployment rate in the 1930s of about 25%, then you would conclude that the maximum global number of unemployed in the 1930s must have been somewhat in excess of the 200 million people mark.

That is to say, global unemployment today "in absolute terms" is quantitatively about the same level as it was in the 1930s depression - it is just that, because there are more than three times as many people alive today, the relative proportion of global unemployed today is only about a quarter of the maximum it reached back then.

Of course the official unemployment figures typically understate true joblessness by a factor of about 20-25% on grand average. For example, in the US you have a working age population of about 204 million, of which about 143 million are employed and 11 million officially unemployed. This leaves about 50 million people in the working-age bracket who are "jobless" because of school, childraising, illness or "some other reason". The official US unemployment rate is about 7.2%, but the real US unemployment rate is more like 8.8% or close to 9%, meaning that in reality about one out of ten US working-age adults is unemployed rather than one out of fourteen.


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Received on Sat Jan 17 08:51:45 2009

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