New data from the UN’s International Labor Organization indicates that the global labor market has been slow to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the economies of low-income countries doing worse than those of wealthier countries.
Earlier this year, ILO economists expected a delicate but steady recovery in the global job market. However, they acknowledge that this relative optimism has now faded in the face of new waves of the pandemic and a slower than expected economic recovery.
Based on its findings, the UN agency now estimates that the number of global hours worked this year will be 4.3% below pre-pandemic levels. This equates to the loss of 125 million full-time jobs.
Even more worrying, says ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, what he sees as a two-speed recovery between high- and low-income countries.
“This is reflected in the fact that high-income countries, with more resources, have managed to recover at least to some extent in 2021, while low-income countries are suffering very severely from the pandemic… It has also increased inequalities between countries as well as within them,” he expressed.
Rider attributes this growing divergence to differences in the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination and fiscal stimulus package. He says the speed of each country’s recovery depends heavily on its ability to vaccinate its population and will also depend on countries’ ability to provide financial aid to protect workers and businesses from the economic impact of the pandemic. .
“In low- and middle-income countries, fiscal constraints and slow vaccination progress are expected to continue to hinder progress. And without solid financial and technical support, the large gap between developed and developing countries will remain,” he stresses. Huh.
The ILO reports that labor market recovery prospects for the rest of the year remain weak and uncertain. Rider says that no country or region will be able to come out of this crisis alone. He says the only permanent way out of this health and socio-economic dilemma is for all countries to work together.