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updated 11/1/2011 1:33:45 PM ET 2011-11-01T17:33:45

The head of the U.N. labor agency says world leaders gathering for the Group of 20 summit must shift their focus to creating jobs if they want to head off an alarming increase in social unrest around the globe.

The International Labor Organization's director-general, Juan Somavia, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that just as governments in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere have sought to increase confidence in financial markets, "we also have to give confidence to the people."

Somavia says jobs and social protection have "to be the central element" of whatever policies leaders agree on at the two-day summit beginning Thursday.

"We need to give confidence to markets, it is necessary but people are on the streets, there is an enormous level of discontent," Somvia said. "We also have to give confidence to people and I would say recover the trust of people."

Earlier Tuesday the Geneva-based ILO released a report saying the global economy is close to a deeper jobs recession, and warned of growing social unrest, especially in Europe, Arab countries and Asia.

The study found that it will take at least five years for advanced economies like the U.S. and Europe to return to pre-crisis levels of employment, a year longer than the ILO forecast last year.

"Two thirds of the developed countries, half of the emerging and developing countries, have a slowdown in employment creation. That's the bottom line," Somavia said. "It's a serious question that the G20 leaders will have to face."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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