The number of jobless people around the world rose by 4 million in 2012 to 197 million and is expected to grow further, the UN labour agency warns.
In a report, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said the worst affected were youth: nearly 13% of the under 24s were unemployed.
It said global unemployment was projected to rise 5.1 million this year and by a further 3 million in 2014.
The trend reflected a downturn in economic growth, the document said.
This was particularly the case in developed countries.