POLITICS
09/27/2011 01:16 EDT | Updated 11/27/2011 05:12 EST

Youth unemployment risk to global economy recovery, G20 ministers say

OTTAWA - Canada's human resources minister says there's a global sense of urgency around the need to create jobs to stave off future economic crisis.

Diane Finley wrapped up two days of meetings with her G20 counterparts in Paris on Tuesday and said the feeling around the table is that job creation must be front-and-centre in economic recovery plans.

The Harper government has promised to make jobs the priority during this fall session of Parliament by forging ahead with programs announced in the June budget.

Officials say the economy has recovered all the jobs lost during the recession, but Finley says Canada's youth unemployment rate remains too high.

The current rate for youth sits at 14 per cent, virtually unchanged over the last year.

And students are finding it even harder to get jobs. The most recent Statistics Canada data pegged the student unemployment rate at 17.2 per cent this summer, up from last year.

"There is an urgent need to link recovery with jobs and particularly with jobs for young people," Finley said in an interview.

"And that's going to take a lot of partnerships between government, employers and post-secondary institutions to make that happen."

A report released on the eve of the Paris meeting suggests that 200 million people are unemployed around the world.

And the OECD and the International Labour Organization say that number is growing.

The report on job-creation policies across the G20 complimented the targeted job programs put in place by the Canadian government.

"At the same time, the inherent difficulties in fully evaluating the cost effectiveness of such initiatives suggest that a prudent approach should be adopted to their scaling up," the report said.

It also suggested there is a sharp increase in long-term unemployment in Canada, which the report says can be associated with greater risks of poverty, health problems and school failure for children.

But creating jobs while keeping government budgets in check is a challenge faced by all G20 countries, the two groups acknowledged.

The G20 ministers emerged from their meetings pledging to ensure workers continue to have basic rights. The ministers also agreed to form a task force that would focus on youth unemployment.

The Paris talks were in advance of the G20 leaders' meetings scheduled for November in France.