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The impact of the pandemic on jobs is stronger than expected, according to the ILO

The overall number of hours worked in 2021 will be 4.3% lower than before the Covid, according to the organization.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on jobs has turned out to be stronger than expected, according to estimates by the International Labor Organization (ILO) released on Wednesday. The new edition of the ILO Covid-19 Observatory shows that the loss in the number of working hours in 2021 due to the pandemic will be significantly greater than that which had been estimated previously.

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«The current trajectory of the labor market is marked by a stagnant recovery, with the appearance of major downside risks, and by large gaps between developed and developing economiesCommented ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Dramatically, we can see that it is the uneven availability of vaccines and fiscal stimulus capacities that are fueling these trends and this must be corrected as soon as possible.», He underlined.

The ILO predicts that the overall number of hours worked in 2021 will be 4.3% below pre-pandemic levels (fourth quarter 2019). This is a significant revision from the ILO forecast released in June, which was -3.5%. The report shows that working hours in high-income and upper-middle-income countries tended to recover in 2021, while lower-middle-income and low-income countries continued to suffer large losses.

Vaccination widens the gaps

In different parts of the world, Europe and Central Asia experienced the lowest losses in hours worked compared to pre-pandemic levels (-2.5%). They are followed by Asia and the Pacific (-4.6%), while Africa, the Americas and the Arab States recorded respective declines of 5.6%, 5.4% and 6.5%. The latest estimates globally confirm the uneven impact on employment of the Covid-19 crisis. Young people, especially young women, continue to face larger employment deficits.

Read alsoThe pandemic and the delays in immunization widen the growth gaps around the world

In low- and middle-income countries, budget constraints and slow progress in immunization hamper recovery, amplified by downside risks such as debt distress and chain bottlenecks global supply chain, according to the ILO. The organization believes that if low-income countries had more equitable access to vaccines, the recovery in working hours could catch up with that of richer economies in just one quarter. By early October, 59.8% of people were fully immunized in high-income countries, while the percentage was 1.6% in low-income countries, according to the ILO.


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