After the near collapse of the financial system and the Great Recession, unemployment has significantly increased worldwide. According to the ILO Global Employment Trends 2013 report, a special edition warranted by the global employment crisis, the global unemployment rate is around 6 percent, which translates into a total of 197 million unemployed worldwide – and this number does not include the 39 million who have dropped out of the labor market.
The idea of full employment, a central part of the Keynesian policy package in the post-World War II era, almost disappeared in the post-1980 era. These recent decades have seen generally high unemployment rates, but the financial collapse of 2007-08 and the Great Recession sent unemployment rates close to 10 percent. When underemployed and discouraged workers were added to this number the figure was around 16.5 percent. Today, we are still faced with an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent in the U.S. And the idea of full employment is making a comeback, as reflected in Robert Pollin’s latest book Back to Full Employment.
Özgür Orhangazi is Associate Professor of Economics at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. He previously taught economics at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. Özgür’s research includes the 2008 book Financialization and the U.S. Economy and the 2007 article “Wall Street versus the Labor Movement.” He has also published research on financial instability and alternative economic policies for both Turkey and Venezuela. While a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Özgür also conducted research on living wage campaigns in the United States.
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