COVID-19: 195m jobs at risk globally – ILO

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THE International Labour Organisation, ILO, has said that Coronavirus pandemic may wipe out more than 195 million full-time jobs or 6.7 percent of working hours globally in the second quarter of the year. ILO in a recent report highlighted some of the worst affected sectors and regions, and outlines policies to mitigate the crisis.

The report indicated that large reductions are foreseen in the Arab states (8.1 percent, equivalent to five million full-time workers), Europe (7.8 percent or 12 million full-time workers) and Asia and the Pacific (7.2 percent or 125 million full-time workers). Huge losses are expected across various income groups, but especially in upper-middle income countries (seven percent, 100 million full-time workers). These far exceed the effects of the 2008-9 financial crisis.

The sectors most at risk are accommodation and food services, manufacturing, retail, and business and administrative activities. The report highlighted that the eventual increase in global unemployment during the year would depend substantially on future developments and policy measures.

According to the report, there is a high risk that the end-of-year figure will be significantly higher than the initial ILO projection of 25 million. More than four out of five people (81 per cent) in the global workforce of 3.3 billion are affected by full or partial workplace closures.

Guy Ryder, director-general, ILO, said: “Workers and businesses are facing catastrophe in both developed and developing economies. We have to move fast, decisively, and together. The right, urgent, measures could make the difference between survival and collapse.”

The report describes COVID-19 as the worst global crisis since World War II. The updated version includes sectoral and regional information on the effects of the pandemic. According to the study, 1.25 billion workers are employed in the sectors identified as being at high risk of drastic and devastating, increases in layoffs and reductions in wages and working hours.

Other regions, particularly Africa, have higher levels of informality, which combined with a lack of social protection, high population density and weak capacity, pose severe health and economic challenges for governments, the report cautions. Worldwide, two billion people work in the informal sector (mostly in emerging and developing economies) and are particularly at risk.

– Apr. 17, 2020 @ 17:09 GMT |

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