More than 57m people will be unemployed in the OECD by the end of 2010

Unemployment in OECD countries will continue to rise well into 2010, with the average unemployment rate approaching 10%, up from 7.8% in April, according to a new OECD projection.

More than 57m people will be unemployed in OECD countries by the end of 2010, according to OECD estimates, up from 37.2m at the end of 2008, when the average unemployment rate was 6.8%.

The expected increase will bring OECD-wide unemployment to 9.9% at the end of 2010, its highest level since the 1970s, with an average for the year of 9.8%.

The figures are even more startling given that at the end of 2007 unemployment stood at a low of 5.5% or 31.6m people.

‘Unemployment will continue to weigh on national economies for a long time to come,’ said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. ‘Previous downturns have taught us that the jobs recovery will lag a long way behind the pickup in economic growth.’

The OECD said governments should make efforts to help the most vulnerable by ensuring that financial safety nets are adequate for job losers.