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COVID Crisis To Push Global Unemployment Over 200 Million Mark In 2022


The economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic
is expected to contribute to global unemployment of more
than 200 million people next year, with women and youth
workers worst-hit, UN labour experts
said
on Wednesday.

The International Labour
Organization (ILO) also maintained in a new
report that although the world’s nations “will emerge”
from the ongoing health crisis, “five years of progress
towards the eradication of working poverty have been
undone” nonetheless.

“We’ve gone backwards,
we’ve gone backwards big time,” said ILO
Director-General Guy Ryder. “Working poverty is back to
2015 levels; that means that when the 2030 Sustainable
Development Agenda was set, we’re back to the starting
line.”

The worst-affected regions in the first half
of 2021 have been Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe
and Central Asia, all victims of uneven
recovery.

They’ve seen estimated working-hour losses
exceed eight per cent in the first quarter and six per cent
in the second quarter, far higher than the global average
(of 4.8 and 4.4 per cent respectively).

Women’s
roles questioned

Women have been hit
“disproportionately” by the crisis, seeing a five per
cent employment fall in 2020, compared to 3.9 per cent for
men.

“A greater proportion of women also fell out of
the labour market, becoming inactive,” ILO said, noting
that “additional domestic responsibilities” had resulted
from lockdowns which risked a “re-traditionalization” of
gender roles.

Youth employment has also continued to
suffer the economic downturn, falling 8.7 per cent in 2020,
compared with 3.7 per cent for adults.

The most
pronounced fall has been in middle-income countries where
the consequences of this delay and disruption to the early
labour market experience of young people “could last for
years”, ILO warned.

$3.20 a
day

Pandemic-related disruption has also brought
“catastrophic consequences” for the world’s two
billion informal sector workers.

Compared to 2019, an
additional 108 million workers worldwide are now categorized
as “poor” or “extremely poor” – meaning that they
and their families live on the equivalent of less than $3.20
per person, per day.

“While signs of economic
recovery are appearing as vaccine campaigns are ramped up,
the recovery is likely to be uneven and fragile,” Mr Ryder
said, as ILO unveiled its forecast that global unemployment
will reach 205 million people in 2022, up from 187 million
in 2019.

Jobs gap

The Geneva-based
organization also projected a “jobs gap” increase of 75
million in 2021, which is likely to fall to 23 million in
2022 – if the pandemic subsides.

The related drop in
working-hours, which takes into account the jobs gap and
those working fewer hours, amounts to the equivalent of 100
million full-time jobs in 2021 and 26 million in
2022.

“This shortfall in employment and working
hours comes on top of persistently high pre-crisis levels of
unemployment, labour underutilization and poor working
conditions,” ILO said in World
Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021, (WESO
Trends)
.

The ILO report maintained that although
global employment recovery should accelerate in the second
half of 2021, it will likely be an uneven
recovery.

Unequal vaccine access is to blame, ILO
insisted, in addition to the limited capacity of most
developing and emerging economies to support the strong
fiscal stimulus measures that have characterised the
approach of the world’s wealthiest countries to the
COVID-induced downturn.

Decent jobs
essential

“Without a deliberate effort to
accelerate the creation of decent jobs, and support the most
vulnerable members of society and the recovery of the
hardest-hit economic sectors, the lingering effects of the
pandemic could be with us for years in the form of lost
human and economic potential and higher poverty and
inequality,” said Mr. Ryder. “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.”

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