The International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Wednesday reported that over 100 million more workers had been pushed into poverty by the raging COVID-19 pandemic, after working hours dropped and access to good quality jobs became impossible for millions of workers over the past months.
The UN’s labour organization in its Annual World Employment and Social Outlook Report released yesterday cautioned that the crisis created by the pandemic was far from over, with employment not expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 at the earliest.
The ILO’s report indicated that the world would be 75 million jobs short at the end of this year compared to if the pandemic had not occurred, projecting that globally 23 million fewer jobs would still be counted 23 by the end of next year.
Commenting on the global labour market trend, ILO’s Director General, Guy Ryder, said Covid-19 “has not just been a public health crisis, it’s also been an employment and human crisis.
“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”, the labour expert added
On working hours, the report showed that global unemployment was expected to stand at 205 million people in 2022, representing 18 million higher than the 187 million reported in 2019.
According to the ILO, the world’s labour market situation is worse than official unemployment figures indicate as many people have held onto their jobs but have seen their working hours cut dramatically.
The ILO further expatiated: “In 2020, 8.8 percent of global working hours were lost compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 – the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs.
“While the situation has improved, global working hours have far from bounced back, and the world will still be short the equivalent of 100 million full-time jobs by the end of this year, the report found.
“This shortfall in employment and working hours comes on top of persistently high pre-crisis levels of unemployment, labour under-utilisation and poor working conditions,” the labour organization added.
While global employment had been projected to recover more quickly in the second half of 2021, provided the overall pandemic situation does not worsen, the ILO warned that the recovery would be highly uneven.
It attributed the unevenness to inequitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, noting that so far, more than 75 percent of all the jabs have gone to just 10 countries.