Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA
Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA

Geneva — At least 220-million people are expected to remain unemployed globally in 2020, well above pre-pandemic levels, with a weak labour market recovery worsening existing inequalities, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said on Wednesday.

The UN agency said slower‐than‐expected vaccine rollouts and a resurgence of coronavirus variants have dampened the global jobs recovery forecast, that will see 205-million unemployed next year — above the 187-million recorded in 2019 before the coronavirus crisis struck.

“Employment growth will be insufficient to make up for the losses suffered until at least 2023,” the ILO said in a report, “World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021”.

Stefan Kuehn, ILO economist and lead author of the report, said the true impact on the labour market was even greater when reduced working hours imposed on many workers and other factors were accounted for.

Despite GDP growth of  economies from pandemic lows as well as unprecedented stimulus measures the pandemic jobs shortfall will continue until at least 2023.

All told, it estimated that working hours losses in 2020 relative to 2019 amounted to the equivalent of 144-million full-time jobs in 2020, a shortfall that still stood at 127-million in the second quarter of 2021.

Looking ahead, the equivalent of 10-million full‐time jobs in working hours will remain lost in 2021, raising the equivalent of jobs lost during the pandemic to 100-million.

“Unemployment does not capture the impact on the labour market,” Kuehn said, noting that whereas hiring in the US had resumed after huge job losses, many workers elsewhere, particularly in Europe, remained on reduced-hours schemes.

Women, young people and the 2-billion people working in informal sectors have been hardest hit, with 108-million more workers worldwide now categorised as poor or extremely poor compared with 2019, it said.

“Five years of progress towards the eradication of working poverty have been undone,” the report said.

Reuters

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