COVID-19 pandemic may cost 25 million jobs worldwide

An ILO report predicts income losses to the tune of $860 billion to $3.4 trillion by the end of this year.

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According to a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), almost 25 million jobs may be lost, globally, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. However, a response policy coordinated at the global level can help reduce the adverse effects on worldwide unemployment.

The ‘COVID-19 and world of work: Impacts and responses’ report by the ILO, emphasises the need for immediate, large-scale and coordinated measures, which will include protection of employees at the workplace, stimulation of the economy and employment, and supporting of jobs and incomes.

The report also suggests extending social protection, facilitating employment retention through short-term work, paid leave and other subsidies, and financial and tax relief, including for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

It also recommends that financial assistance be provided to certain economic sectors as part of economic and monetary policy measures.

On the basis of various scenarios owing to the effect of COVID-19 on global GDP growth, the ILO expects a spike in unemployment levels globally, between 5.3 million and 24.7 million, from a base level of 188 million in 2019.

The report reveals that underemployment may also go up, as the pandemic will cause reduction in working hours and wages. Even self-employment may fail to cushion the impact because the movement of service providers and goods is restricted.

Workers will end up losing income to the tune of US$860 billion to US$ 3.4 trillion by the end of 2020. As a result, there will be a dip in consumption of goods and services, which will adversely affect businesses and economies.

The reduction in economic activity will deeply affect the poor workers, especially those below the poverty line. As a result, about 8.8 to 35 million more people will be pushed into working poverty across the world.

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