NEW YORK - The global economic crisis has made fears of unemployment the No. 1 concern, surpassing worries about poverty, social inequality, crime and violence, a 22-nation survey showed on Thursday.
Some 41 percent of people said joblessness was their biggest worry, a 13-percentage point jump from a year ago, when unemployment was No. 4, according to the November survey of 22,000 people.
"Jobs, jobs, jobs all across the globe is the No. 1 issue," said Clifford Young of Ipsos Global Public Affairs, the international market research and polling company that carried out the online poll. "There is going to be demand for government solutions."
US data released on Wednesday showed private employers shed 693,000 jobs in December, far more than expected and up sharply from the 476,000 jobs lost in November.
"(The poll) suggests there is going to be a strong return to bread and butter issues, especially job creation and job-related programs and it suggests in respect to the economy greater government intervention," Young said.
Some 35 percent of those polled were equally concerned about poverty and social inequality or crime and violence, making it the No. 2 issue, while 31 percent feared corruption and financial or political scandals.
In October 2007, crime and violence was the top issue, followed by poverty and social inequality, and corruption and financial or political scandals.
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Ipsos polled people in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
The 22 countries make up 75 percent of the world's gross domestic product.
When the poll is broken down, unemployment is the top concern for North Americans, Europeans, the Asia Pacific and the Group of Eight industrialized nations -- the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Japan and Russia.
In Latin America, crime and violence far outweighs unemployment as an issue, with 68 percent worried about the former and just 38 percent anxious about the latter.
"Crime in Latin America is the No. 1 issue and has been (for a long time)," Young said. "That (issue) becomes more salient because as things get bad and prices go up and people lose their jobs, people turn to crime."
In the emerging economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India and China -- known as the BRICs -- corruption and financial or political scandals are the top concern. Unemployment and jobs comes in at No. 4.
"On the jobs issue, the slowdowns are just hitting the BRICs right now, so what we would expect in the next survey is a tick up in the jobs and unemployment issue. There's a lag effect with these countries," Young said.
The survey can be seen at www.ipsos-na.com/news.
Respondents in the online poll are managed, recruited and screened, the survey said. The results are then balanced by age, gender, city population and education levels. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.