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Coronavirus pandemic cost equivalent of 255 million jobs: UN report

Coronavirus pandemic cost equivalent of 255 million jobs: UN report
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The coronavirus pandemic cost the equivalent of 255 million jobs worldwide, quadruple the losses during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, according to new research by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO).

The report, released Monday, puts the losses as a result of restrictions at 8.8 percent of work hours worldwide.

The pandemic hit women harder than men, with employment losses for women at 5 percent compared to 3.9 percent for men. Women were also more likely overall to drop out of the labor pool altogether amid the pandemic.

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The ILO also found younger workers were disproportionately affected, with an 8.7 percent loss among those 15 to 24 compared to 3.7 percent for older workers.

Food and hospitality services were hit hardest, with employment losses of more than 20 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, information, communication and finance employment increased over last year’s second and third quarters, according to the report.

“This has been the most severe crisis for the world of work since The Great Depression of the 1930s. Its impact is far greater than that of the global financial crisis of 2009,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

Ryder said in the report that while trends indicate a degree of recovery in 2021, the trajectory is “fragile and highly uncertain.”

“We are at a fork in the road. One path leads to an uneven, unsustainable, recovery with growing inequality and instability, and the prospect of more crises,” he said. “The other focuses on a human-centred recovery for building back better, prioritizing employment, income and social protection, workers’ rights and social dialogue. If we want a lasting, sustainable and inclusive recovery, this is the path policy-makers must commit to.”  

To ensure a sustained recovery, the agency recommended targeted measures that affect the pandemic’s impact on women, young workers and low-paid workers, as well as international financial support for poorer countries.