Coronavirus Job Losses Could Hit Four out of Five People Worldwide

Millions of jobs around the world came to an abrupt halt amid the struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The job losses keep multiplying at a dizzying rate, threatening the long-term livelihoods and wellbeing of millions.

The UN agency International Labor Organizaton (ILO) has been looking at the global impact of the coronavirus, saying around 200 million people could end up jobless.

The ILO’s preliminary assessment on the potential threats to economies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic says “a total of 81% of the global workforce of 3.3 billion people have had their workplace fully or partly closed. The outbreak is expected to wipe out 6.7% of working hours across the world during the second quarter of 2020.”

Different sectors of the economy have been hit in different ways. With travel restricted and social lives put on hold, the industries that suffer the most include accommodation services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and real estate and business. More than 1.24 billion persons are employed in these industries worldwide. For small and medium companies, as well as for people who rely on their everyday social activity to earn income, the coronavirus crisis can prove existential. 

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

Calling the coronavirus crisis ‘the most severe’ since World War Two, the ILO puts forward a myriad of policy options to mitigate the crisis and facilitate strong recovery. ILO expresses hope that nations can succeed at devising internationally coordinated policy responses that alleviate the economic fallout across the global economy. They could do so primarily by “providing a human-centred approach to growth and development, including by triggering policy levers that both stimulate demand and protect workers and enterprises”. 

ILO also stressed the need to engage in social dialogue with workers and employers, which is vital for building public trust and support amid the global crisis.

By Elene Dzebisashvili

08 April 2020 18:13