The labour market crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and employment growth will be insufficient to make up for the losses suffered until at least 2023, according to a new assessment by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021 projects the global crisis-induced ‘jobs gap’ will reach 75 million in 2021, before falling to 23 million in 2022.
The related gap in working-hours, which includes the jobs gap and those on reduced hours, amounts to the equivalent of 100 million full-time jobs in 2021 and 26 million full-time jobs in 2022.
“This shortfall in employment and working hours comes on top of persistently high pre-crisis levels of unemployment, labour underutilisation and poor working conditions,” read the report.
In consequence, global unemployment is expected to stand at 205 million people in 2022, greatly surpassing the level of 187 million in 2019. This corresponds to an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent.
According to the ILO, excluding the COVID-19 crisis period, such a rate was last seen in 2013.
The report said that global employment recovery is projected to accelerate in the second half of 2021, provided that there is no worsening in the overall pandemic situation.
However, this will be uneven, due to unequal vaccine access and the limited capacity of most developing and emerging economies to support strong fiscal stimulus measures. Furthermore, the quality of newly created jobs is likely to deteriorate in those countries.
Likewise, compared to 2019, an additional 108 million workers worldwide are now categorised as poor or extremely poor (meaning they and their families live on the equivalent of less than US$3.20 per person per day).
“Five years of progress towards the eradication of working poverty have been undone,” the report says, adding that this renders the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating poverty by 2030 even more elusive.
The COVID-19 crisis has also made pre-existing inequalities worse by hitting vulnerable workers harder, the report reads. The widespread lack of social protection – for example among the world’s two billion informal sector workers – means that pandemic-related work disruptions, has had catastrophic consequences for family incomes and livelihoods.
The crisis has also hit women disproportionately. Their employment declined by 5 per cent in 2020 compared to 3.9 per cent for men. A greater proportion of women also fell out of the labour market, becoming inactive. Additional domestic responsibilities resulting from crisis lockdowns have also created the risk of a “re-traditionalisation” of gender roles.
ILO Director General Guy Ryder said that recovery from COVID-19 is not just a health issue.
“We need a comprehensive and co-ordinated strategy, based on human-centred policies, and backed by action and funding. There can be no real recovery without a recovery of decent jobs,” he said.
Source : THE RISING NRPAL,