ILO: Covid-19 impact on employment worse than expected



Working hours lost this year because of the pandemic will be significantly higher than estimated, according to an International Labor Organization or ILO report released on Wednesday.

The eighth edition of the ‘ILO
Monitor: COVID-19 and the World of Work’ report also points out that divergent
recovery rates between developed and developing nations threatened the global
economy.

The ILO is now projecting that
global hours worked in 2021 will be 4.3% below pre-pandemic levels, equivalent
to some 125 million full-time jobs.

This figure represents a dramatic
revision of the ILO’s June projection of 3.5% or 100 million full-time jobs.

“Dramatically unequal vaccine
distribution and fiscal capacities are driving these trends, and both need to
be addressed urgently,” ILO chief Guy Ryder told journalists at a UN press
conference.

“I think the overall message … is
that this recovery is faltering,” Ryder insisted.

The ILO report warned that a “great
divergence” in employment recovery trends between developed and developing
countries would persist without concrete financial and technical support.

It said the disparities are
primarily driven by significant differences in the rollout of vaccinations and
fiscal stimulus packages.

“Estimates indicate that for every
14 persons fully-vaccinated in the second quarter of 2021, one full-time
equivalent job was added to the global labor market. This substantially boosted
the recovery,” said the ILO.

“Globally, losses in hours worked —
in the absence of vaccines — would have stood at 6% in the second quarter of
2021, rather than the 4.8% recorded.”

The highly uneven rollout of
vaccinations meant that the positive effect was most significant in high-income
countries, negligible in lower-middle-income countries, and almost zero in
low-income countries, the ILO stated.

“These imbalances could be rapidly
and effectively addressed through greater global solidarity in respect of
vaccines,” read the report.

In the third quarter of 2021, total
hours worked in high-income countries were 3.6% lower than in the fourth
quarter of 2019.

By contrast, the gap in low-income countries stood at 5.7% and 7.3% in lower-middle-income countries.

From a regional perspective, Europe
and Central Asia saw the most negligible loss of hours worked against
pre-pandemic levels – 2.5%.

It was followed by Asia and the Pacific with 4.6%, the Americas with 5.4%, Africa with 5.6%, and Arab states with 6.5%, the report said.

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