The United Nations said on Wednesday that the pandemic has pushed more than 100 million workers into poverty, with reduced working hours and evaporating access to good quality jobs.
In a report, the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) cautioned that the labor market crisis caused by the pandemic is not over, with employment not expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 at the earliest.
The ILO’s annual World Employment and Social Outlook report indicated that if the pandemic had not occurred, the planet would be losing 75 million jobs by the end of this year.
And it will still count 23 million fewer jobs by the end of next year.
ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters, “Covid-19 “has not only been a public health crisis, it has also been an employment and human crisis.”
“Without a deliberate effort to accelerate the creation of decent jobs, and to support the most vulnerable members of society and the recovery of the hardest-hit economic sectors, the impact of the pandemic could be with us for years in the form of a lost human. and economic potential, and high poverty and inequality.”
working hours reduced
The report showed that global unemployment was expected to remain at 205 million people in 2022 – far higher than the 187 million in 2019.
But the situation is worse than the official unemployment figures.
Many people have put their work on hold but have seen their working hours cut dramatically.
In 2020, 8.8 percent of global working hours were lost compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 – the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs.
The report found that although the situation has improved, global working hours are far from bouncing back, and the world will still have less than the equivalent of 100 million full-time jobs.
“This reduction in employment and working hours comes on top of consistently high pre-crisis levels of unemployment, under-utilization of labor and poor working conditions,” the ILO said.
And while global employment is expected to recover more quickly in the second half of 2021 – provided the overall pandemic situation does not worsen – the ILO warned that the recovery would be highly uneven.
This, it said, was due to unequal access to Covid-19 vaccines. So far, more than 75 percent of all jobs have gone to just 10 countries.
The limited ability of most developing and emerging economies to support strong fiscal stimulus measures will also have an impact, with the ILO warning that the quality of newly created jobs in those countries is likely to deteriorate.
The decline in employment and working hours has meanwhile translated into a sharp drop in labor income and an increase in poverty.
Compared to 2019, 108 million more workers worldwide were classified as poor or extremely poor, meaning they and their families live on less than $3.20 per person per day, the study showed. has gone.
“The poverty figures are absolutely dramatic,” Ryder cautioned, adding that five years of progress toward eradicating working poverty had been undone.
The report highlighted how the Covid-19 crisis had worsened the already existing inequalities by giving a tough fight to vulnerable workers.
For many of the two billion people working in the informal sector, where social protection is generally lacking, pandemic-related work disruptions have had devastating consequences for family incomes and livelihoods.
The crisis has also disproportionately affected women, who are out of the labor market at a higher rate than men, even though they have taken on the added burden of looking after out-of-school children and others.
The report warned that this posed a risk of “re-traditionalisation” of gender roles.
Meanwhile youth employment fell 8.7 percent last year – more than double the 3.7 percent for older workers.
“The consequences of this delay and disruption to young people’s early experience of the labor market could last for years,” the ILO said.
To ensure economic recovery and avoid a long-term crisis of the global labor market, Ryder said the world needs a comprehensive and coordinated strategy backed by immediate action and funding.
“There can be no real recovery without decent jobs recovery,” he said.
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