The COVID-19 pandemic has created an “unprecedented” global labor market crisis that will affect the labor market for years, the International Labor Organization said in a report Wednesday.
The UN agency said: “All countries have suffered a sharp deterioration in employment and national income, which has exacerbated existing inequalities and risks influencing“ scarring ”effects in the longer term. workers and businesses. “
The 164-page report for Global Employment and Social Prospects: Trends 2021 said the crisis has hit vulnerable workers, including 2 billion in the informal sector, the hardest women and youth.
During 2020, an estimated 8.8% of total working hours were lost – “the equivalent of hours worked in a year by 255 million full-time workers,” the agency said. On the contrary, he said, if there had not been a pandemic, the world would have created about 30 million new jobs by 2020.
The Geneva-based agency said recurring waves of pandemics around the world have meant that hourly job losses remain high, with a 4.4% loss corresponding to 140 million full-time jobs. in the first quarter of 2021 and a loss of 4.4% in the second quarter equivalent to 127 million full-time jobs.
“The crisis is far from over,” the agency added, pointing to Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia as the hardest hit regions in the first half of this year.
The report said an uneven economic recovery is expected to begin in the second half of 2021, driven by progress in vaccinations and large-scale fiscal spending. It expects the recovery to create 100 million jobs this year and an additional 80 million in 2022, but says it is still far from pre-pandemic levels.
“To make matters worse, many of the newly created jobs are expected to be of low productivity and of poor quality,” the report said.
The agency predicts that employment growth will be insufficient to compensate for the losses suffered by the pandemic until 2023 at least.
He said many businesses – particularly micro and small businesses – “are already bankrupt or are facing a very uncertain future”. A survey of 4,520 companies in 45 countries around the world in the second quarter of 2020 found that 80% of micro-enterprises and 70% of small enterprises “had significant financial difficulties,” the report says.
“Recovery from COVID-19 is not just a health problem,” said the agency’s director, Guy Ryder. “The serious damage to economies and societies must be overcome as well.”
Without accelerated efforts to create decent jobs and support for the world’s most vulnerable people and the hardest-hit economic sectors, “the persistent effects of the pandemic could be with us for years in the form of lost human and economic potential and poverty. and higher inequalities, ”Ryder said.