Tuesday, November 28, 2023

ILO warns of ‘lost generation lockdown’ | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic destroyed 114 million jobs and 8.8% of global working hours, or 255 million full-time jobs, in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out 8.8% of global working hours, or 255 million full-time jobs, causing an unprecedented crisis of inequality and threatening the return to the workforce of a generation of women, young workers and low-skilled workers, the union branch of the United Nations warned on Monday.

Global labor income fell by about $ 3.7 trillion in 2020, or 4.4% of 2019 global gross domestic product (GDP), according to the International Labor Organization report on COVID-19 and the world of work (PDF).

“The past year has been a jobs crisis of unprecedented magnitude – about four times greater than what happened during the global financial crisis,” said Sher Verick, Head of the Business Unit. employment strategies at the ILO’s Employment Policy Department, Al Jazeera.

The ILO estimates that the global employment decline was around 114 million in 2020 compared to 2019.

He also points out that millions more people have suffered a substantial reduction in their working hours, causing an income crisis. In other words, while millions of workers around the world are still technically employed, their working hours have been cut so severely that they are struggling to make ends meet and afford basic services like food and accommodation.

The ILO has found that the Americas, Europe and Central Asia have suffered more than twice the loss of working hours than other regions, due to restrictions and lockdowns instituted at the start of the year. 2020 to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

Generation lost and stuck: women, young workers and low-skilled workers

Women, young people and low-skilled workers find themselves in a particularly difficult situation. The ILO has found that these groups are most exposed to long-term economic hardship, prolonged periods of unemployment and even exclusion from the labor market.

People waiting in line outside a soup kitchen in Buenos Aires, Argentina [File: Agustin Marcarian/Reuters]

Job losses for young people in 2020 reached 8.7% compared to 3.7% for adults. And the ILO has found that regardless of region, women are more likely than men to drop out of the workforce.

“Income losses are relatively large for women, young people, low-skilled workers and the self-employed,” said Verick. “There is a real risk of loss of lockout generation.”

Already facing a labor shortage before the pandemic, young people find themselves increasingly excluded from the labor market.

“Many young people have become inactive or have left the workforce because they were confined during the crisis and unable to come out to look for work,” said Verick.

Young people and women are also more likely than other groups to work in service sectors, which include tourism, hospitality, and the restaurant and bar industry – all areas nearly wiped out by business closures. several months.

A woman queues at the temporary unemployment office in Frankfort, Kentucky, USA [File: Bryan Woolston/Reuters]

The ILO urges governments around the world to invest in strengthening worker participation. For young people, this could mean access to training programs that will orient them to growing fields such as technology and finance.

But of course, one or two sectors cannot absorb the losses of hundreds of millions of jobs.

And while there is some optimism about a strong and dynamic job recovery in 2021, that forecast can change quickly. The effectiveness of coronavirus vaccine deployments, the impact of the novel variant of the coronavirus, and the ability of governments to adapt to a new era with appropriate policy remain to be seen.

“Countries have done a lot to try to prevent their economies from collapsing, whether through monetary and fiscal policies or through subsidies,” Verick said. “Governments must now seek to promote investments that stimulate job creation.”


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