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Asian Joblessness to Balloon

Originally posted on The Wall Street Journal

Asia is likely to have 7.2 million more jobless people in 2009 than last year due to fallout from the global economic crisis, the International Labor Organization said.

It forecast the ranks of unemployed workers would likely balloon to 97 million in 2009 in Asia, the world economy’s star performer in recent years but where a third of the population still live on a little more than $1 a day.

That would raise the region’s jobless rate to 5.1% from 4.8% last year.

In the most pessimistic scenario, the number of unemployed could swell to 113 million, or 22.3 million more than last year, the ILO said in a report on the crisis’s fallout in Asia.

An estimated 51 million new jobs will be needed this year and next to absorb Asia’s growing labor force, with most positions needed in the region’s giant economies — 20 million in India, 11 million in China and 3.6 million in Indonesia. Countries with the highest rates of expected labor-force growth through 2010 include Pakistan at 6.1%, Cambodia at 4.9% and the Philippines at 4.9%.

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