Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
G20 Labor and Employment Ministers Meeting
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Department of Labor
Thank you all for joining us.
I want to begin by thanking my colleagues and their staffs for their tremendous work over the past two days.
Today we concluded a meeting of the G20 Labor and Employment Ministers.
This is the first time that the cabinet officials responsible for labor markets in the twenty largest economies in the world have met to help our Leaders coordinate international economic policy.
The G20 Leaders asked us to help them find ways to meet the challenges that the economic crisis is posing for working households in all of our countries.
They asked us to help them build the foundation for sustainable, balanced economies that create good jobs for all those who want to work.
They also told us to look at the quality of jobs as well as the quantity of jobs.
We worked very hard this week.
We assessed where we are in terms of recovery of our labor markets.
We reviewed the massive programs we launched last year and their impact.
We looked to determine what additional measures may be needed to ensure a sustained recovery that produces enough jobs for our workers.
We also looked at ways to strengthen our social safety nets and employment services to help those still out of work and others who will have to adjust to changes in our economies.
We spent time working with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other international organizations to develop a 21st century job skills training strategy for the G20 Leaders' consideration later this year.
We discussed ways to improve labor and social policies to make sure that workers share in productivity growth in the form of rising living standards and that workers' rights are fully respected in the workplace.
We looked at ways to help G20 Leaders put employment at the center of international economic policy coordination.
At same time, we developed a list of recommendations that will help to achieve these ambitious, but necessary goals.
This afternoon, we presented that list to President Barack Obama.
President Obama made jobs his highest priority and it was his suggestion that we hold this meeting.
Therefore, it was only fitting that the first action we took to follow up on our work was to present the recommendations to President Obama.
In coming weeks, my fellow Ministers will also be presenting these recommendations to their Leaders and their governments.
Let me quickly summarize the five key recommendations for you:
First Accelerate Job Creation to Ensure a Sustained Recovery and Future Growth
- As some countries begin to experience economic recovery, we recommend that continued attention be paid to job creation and job preservation, including vigorous implementation of existing policies and consideration of additional employment measures.
- In countries with extensive underemployment, informal sectors, and/or high rates of poverty, we recommend targeted efforts to generate employment for poor households and vulnerable groups, utilizing lessons learned from recent policy innovations.
Second Strengthen Social Protection Systems and Promote Inclusive Active Labor Market Policies
- We recommend that, where needed, social protection systems and active labor market policies be strengthened because significant numbers of people, including the most disadvantaged, will remain unemployed even after recovery takes hold and others will need help to adjust to changes in our economies.
- We also recommend that all countries establish adequate social protection systems so that households have sufficient security to take advantage of economic opportunities.
Third Place Employment and Poverty Alleviation at the Center of National and Global Economic Strategies
- We recommend that G20 Leaders prioritize employment and poverty alleviation as they lay the foundation for strong, sustained and balanced growth that is beneficial to all.
Fourth Improve the Quality of Jobs for Our People
- We recommend renewed attention to labor market policies and institutions to improve the quality of jobs and respect for fundamental rights at work.
Fifth Prepare Our Workforces for Future Challenges and Opportunities
- Education, lifelong learning, job training and skills development strategies should be prioritized and linked to growth strategies.
- Better anticipation and matching of skills to jobs can help the workforce benefit from post-crisis restructuring and new opportunities.
These recommendations are accompanied by a discussion of concrete steps we have taken or can take to work toward achieving our goals.
We are also forwarding to our Leaders a document prepared by the ILO with input from the OECD that provides more details on specific policies and lessons learned.
You have those documents in your press kit.
At the end of the day, recovering from the crisis, restoring sustained and balanced growth that creates enough good jobs for our people is something that we cannot do alone in our own countries.
In an integrated global economy we have to work together.
Thank you for your attention.