Global unemployment to surge to 205 million in 2022: ILO

The COVID-19 crisis significantly reduced household incomes around the world 

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 03 June 2021

Global unemployment is expected to be at 205 million in 2022, surpassing the 2019 level of 187 million, according to a new report.

The jobs shortfall induced by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was 75 million in 2021 and is expected to be 23 million in 2022, warned the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021.

Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labour Orgnazation (ILO) that published the report said:

It's been 15 months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic and it's not just been a public health crisis, it's also been an employment and a human crisis as well.

The report analyses the impact of the crisis on the labour market across the world and offers projections for recovery and gives details of the unequal impact of the crisis on different groups of workers and enterprises and calls for a broad-based human-centered recovery.

Pandemic-induced global shortfall in jobs compared to 2019 (in millions)

There has been an unprecedented disruption to labour markets worldwide due to COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the lives of the younger generation and brought about disruption to their education, especially in those regions of the world where digital infrastructure is less developed. Also made it more difficult for them to enter the labour market and hold on to their jobs.

The pandemic worsened long-standing inequalities with many women workers dropping out of the labour force, putting at risk years of progress towards achieving gender equality and pushing them back to the more traditional gender roles.

For informal and low-skilled workers, working from home was not an option. Many had to face huge health risks to keep their jobs, often with no access to social security benefits.

An estimated additional 108 million workers and their family members now live in poverty, according to the ILO report.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit African countries hard — fall in trade disrupted supply chains, remittances shrunk and tourism came to a halt.

A crisis-induced jobs gap of nearly 17 million is estimated for Africa in 2020, which includes jobs lost in 2020 combined with forgone job growth as a result of the crisis, according to the report.

The pandemic reversed some of the progress made in reducing poverty in Africa by driving up the share of workers living in extreme poverty.

The long road to recovery

The State Bank of India, in its recent report, reduced the gross domestic product growth projection for India for 2021-22 to 7.9 percent from 10.4 percent.

Economic and labour market recovery is expected to start in 2021 but it would remain uneven globally and inadequate to close the gaps opened up by the crisis.

The recovery would remain fragile in many countries due to the uneven rollout of vaccination campaigns and higher levels of public debt and deficits that would make it difficult to tackle the effects of the pandemic.

There is an urgent need to build back better — create productive employment opportunities and foster long-term labour market prospects for the most vulnerable.

There is a need to strengthen social protection schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in India and make sure nobody is left behind.

This would require strong institutions and social dialogue and strong international cooperation to fight global disparities.

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