GENEVA (Reuters) - The global unemployment rate will inch down to 5.7 per cent in 2017 from 5.8 per cent in 2014-16, helped by job creation in the US and Europe, although a growing population means the total of number of unemployed people will rise, the International Labour Organisation said a report.
The ILO's forecast for the unemployment rate to fall is more optimistic than it was a year ago, when the United Nations agency estimated it would remain at 5.9 per cent from 2014 to 2017.
Publishing its annual World Employment and Social Outlook report on Tuesday, the ILO also said the total number of unemployed people will top 200 million for the first time in 2017, up from 197.1 million in 2015 and its forecast for 199.4 million this year.
The rise will come in developing and emerging countries such as Brazil, where the number of jobless will grow from 7.7 million to 8.4 million this year and next, and Russia and South Africa. All three are forecast to fare much worse than the expectation a year ago.
"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 report said.
However, the number of unemployed in the United States is expected to fall to 7.7 million in 2017 from 8.7 million in 2015, the report said.
The US unemployment rate is forecast to fall from 5.3 per cent in 2015 to 4.9 per cent this year and 4.7 per cent next year, partly because of job creation but also because of people giving up on looking for work.
In the crisis-hit European economies of Greece, Portugal and Spain, unemployment rates have fallen by an average of almost 2 percentage points in the past year, but remain above 20 per cent in Spain and Greece.
"Declining energy prices and depreciation of the Euro have supported faster-than-expected employment creation in export-oriented southern European countries, such as Spain, Portugal and, more recently, Italy," the report said.
But unemployment rates will remain higher than the pre-crisis level across Europe, with the big exceptions of Britain and Germany.
The euro zone unemployment rate is forecast to fall from 11.6 per cent in 2014 to 10.9 per cent in 2015, 10.7 per cent in 2016 and 10.4 per cent in 2017.
The influx of refugees into Europe will present short-term challenges, but in the longer term the migrants will help to counter skills shortages and mitigate risks associated with low population growth, the report said.