A vendor uses a mobile phone at a stall in a 'Ramadan market' set up by the district government in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday, April 30 2021. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SAMSUL SAID
A vendor uses a mobile phone at a stall in a 'Ramadan market' set up by the district government in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday, April 30 2021. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SAMSUL SAID

Nairobi — One in two people worldwide experienced a drop in earnings due to the coronavirus, with people in low-income countries particularly hard hit by job losses or cuts to their working hours, research showed on Monday.

US-based polling company Gallup, which surveyed 300,000 people across 117 countries, found that half of those with jobs earned less because of Covid-19 pandemic disruptions. This translated to 1.6-billion adults globally, it said.

“Worldwide, these percentages ranged from a high of 76% in Thailand to a low of 10% in Switzerland,” said researchers.

In Bolivia, Myanmar, Kenya, Uganda, Indonesia, Honduras and Ecuador, more than 70% people polled said they took home less than before global health crisis. In the US, this figure dropped to 34%.

The Covid-19 crisis has hit workers worldwide, particularly women, who are overrepresented in low-paid precarious sectors such as retail, tourism and food services.

A study by the international charity Oxfam released on Thursday reads the pandemic has cost women worldwide $800bn in lost income.

The Gallup poll found that more than half of those surveyed said they temporarily stopped working at their job or business — translating to about 1.7-billion adults globally.

In 57 countries — including India, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Kenya, Bangladesh and El Salvador — more than 65% of respondents said they stopped working for a time.

Countries where people were least likely to say they stopped working were predominantly developed, high-income countries.

Fewer than one in 10 of those who had jobs in Austria, Switzerland and Germany said they had stopped working temporarily. In the US, the figure was 39%, research showed.

The poll also showed that one in three people surveyed lost their job or business due to the pandemic — translating into just more than 1-billion people globally.

These figures also varied across nations, with lower-income countries such as the Philippines, Kenya and Zimbabwe showing more than 60% of respondents lost their jobs or businesses, compared with 3% in Switzerland and 13% in the US.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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