Global unemployment figures
Guy Ryder, the director-general of the International Labour Organization, addresses a news conference on World Employment and Social Outlook at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland Pierre Albouy/Reuters

Global unemployment is expected to worsen in 2016 with the total number of jobless expected to touch nearly 200 million for the first time ever, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned. The forecast also said an additional 2.3 million people would become unemployed this year.

The organisation in its new report estimated that about 197.1 million working-age people were unemployed in 2015 — a 0.7% rise compared to the previous year. The numbers are predicted to reach 199.4 million in 2016 but are expected to touch the 200 million mark a year later — which will be the first time on record.

The eye-opening report by the UN agency blamed a multitude of factors, including rise in global population, falling commodities prices and sluggish economic growth in emerging economies.

The latest figures are in stark contrast with the earlier forecast made by the UN, which estimated the jobless rate would remain at 5.9% from 2014 to 2019.

In its annual World Employment and Social Outlook report published on Tuesday (19 January), the ILO said the employment opportunities, particularly in Brazil, China and other oil-producing nations, have dwindled, compounded by the economic slowdown across continents.

"The global economy is not generating enough jobs," ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters in Geneva. He added: "The significant slowdown in emerging markets coupled with a sharp decline in commodity prices" was fuelling the grim outlook. Ryder urged the governments to create jobs in order to avoid "social tension and unrest".

He said: "The fact of being at work does not necessarily lead to an escape from poverty. The lack of decent jobs leads people to turn to informal unemployment, which is typically characterised by low productivity, low pay and no social protection."

Developing and emerging economies will mostly bear the brunt in the coming years, with Brazil, Russia and South Africa forecast to fare much worse than the earlier years.

The ILO report said: "The deteriorating labour market conditions in these large economies will have knock-on effects in their respective regions, as spillovers from migration, reductions in remittances and slower earnings growth affect neighbouring economies."

The job creation in the US and Europe is likely to diminish the effect of the global rate but is unlikely to have a significant impact in bringing down the overall percentage, the report added. The number of jobless in the US is estimated to come down to 7.7 million in 2017 from 8.7 million in 2015.