COVID-19 and the shutdowns enacted to combat the virus deprived the world’s workers of the equivalent of 480 million 40-hour-a-week jobs during the past three months, the United Nations-affiliated International Labour Organization reported today.
The job impact is worse than the organization’s forecasters predicted in May.
“This reflects the worsening situation in many parts of the world in recent weeks,” the authors wrote.
“New data from numerous sources suggest that workers in developing countries, especially those in informal employment, have been affected to a greater extent than in past crises,” they continued. “In these countries, more limited opportunities for teleworking and the greater vulnerability of informal workers to confinement measures appear to be exacerbating the effect of the downturn and creating new labor market challenges.”
The second-quarter lost work totaled about 14 percent of the world’s work hours compared to the same period a year ago, according to the report. First-quarter lost work totaled about 5 percent compared to the prior year.
In the Americas, about 18 percent of total work hours were lost during the second quarter, compared to the prior year’s second quarter.
The latest monthly bulletin issued by the ISO also included new data reinforcing earlier analyses indicating that the economic impact of COVID-19 has varied somewhat by gender and considerably by geography.
Of the lost 40-hour-a-week-equivalent jobs, approximately 45 million were in Africa. About 35 million were in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Americas saw 80 million lost jobs” 25 million in North America, 38 million in South America, 16 million in Central America and 55 million in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Asia saw 280 million lost jobs, Arab states saw 10 million lost jobs, and Europe and Central Asia saw 55 million lost jobs.
The report also includes new data suggesting that COVID-19 is hitting women especially hard. A main reason for that is their disproportionate representation, compared to men, in service jobs. Also, the report states that women are more likely than men to be hit with additional care-giving responsibilities due to COVID-19.
The International Labour Organization has 186 member countries, including the United States.