The International Labor Organization publishes its report on the effects of COVID-19 on the labor market. The introductory part of the report states the following:
- Since the first ILO Monitor, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated in terms of intensity and expanded its global reach. Full or partial lockdown measures are now affecting almost 2.7 billion workers, representing around 81 per cent of the world’s workforce.
- In the current situation, businesses across a range of economic sectors are facing catastrophic losses, which threaten their operations and solvency, especially among smaller enterprises, while millions of workers are vulnerable to income loss and layoffs. The impact on income-generating activities is especially harsh for unprotected workers and the most vulnerable groups in the informal economy.
- Employment contraction has already begun on a large (often unprecedented) scale in many countries. In the absence of other data, changes in working hours, which reflect both layoffs and other temporary reductions in working time, give a better picture about the dire reality of the current labour market situation.
- Using this approach, as of 1 April 2020, the ILO’s new global estimates indicate that working hours will decline by 6.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, which is equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.
- The final tally of annual job losses in 2020 will depend critically on the evolution of the pandemic and the measures taken to mitigate its impact. For this reason, the ILO will continue to monitor the situation and regularly update its estimate of working hours lost and equivalent employment loss.
- The majority of job losses and declining working hours will occur in hardest-hit sectors. The ILO estimates that 1.25 billion workers, representing almost 38 per cent of the global workforce, are employed in sectors that are now facing a severe decline in output and a high risk of workforce displacement. Key sectors include retail trade, accommodation and food services, and manufacturing.
- Particularly in low- and middle-income countries, hard-hit sectors have a high proportion of workers in informal employment and workers with limited access to health services and social protection. Without appropriate policy measures, workers face a high risk of falling into poverty and will experience greater challenges in regaining their livelihoods during the recovery period.
- Those who continue to work in public spaces, in particular health workers, are exposed to significant health and economic risks. In the health sector, this affects women disproportionately.
- Indeed, no matter where in the world or in which sector, the crisis is having a dramatic impact on the world’s workforce. Policy responses need to focus on providing immediate relief to workers and enterprises in order to protect livelihoods and economically viable businesses, particularly in hard-hit sectors and developing countries, thus ensuring the conditions for a prompt, job-rich recovery once the pandemic is under control.
- public resources need to be used to encourage enterprises to retain and/or create jobs.
The full text of the report can be found HERE.