International Labour Organisation sees slow recovery of labour market

By: |
October 28, 2021 5:40 AM

At the equivalent of 125 million, the global working hours worked in the current year will be 4.3% below the pre-pandemic levels (the fourth quarter of 2019), the ILO said in its latest report on the impact of Covid-19 on labour markets.

In the third quarter (July-September) of 2021, total hours worked in high-income countries were 3.6% lower than the fourth quarter of 2019. By contrast, the gap in low-income countries stood at 5.7% and in lower-middle income countries, at 7.3%.In the third quarter (July-September) of 2021, total hours worked in high-income countries were 3.6% lower than the fourth quarter of 2019. By contrast, the gap in low-income countries stood at 5.7% and in lower-middle income countries, at 7.3%.

Projecting a slower recovery of the global labour market for 2021, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Wednesday upwardly revised its estimates of pandemic-induced working hours loss to an equivalent of 125 million full-time jobs compared to the June estimate of 100 million.

At the equivalent of 125 million, the global working hours worked in the current year will be 4.3% below the pre-pandemic levels (the fourth quarter of 2019), the ILO said in its latest report on the impact of Covid-19 on labour markets.

“The current trajectory of labour markets is of a stalled recovery, with major downside risks appearing, and a great divergence between developed and developing economies. Dramatically, unequal vaccine distribution and fiscal capacities are driving these trends,” said ILO director-general Guy Ryder.

In the third quarter (July-September) of 2021, total hours worked in high-income countries were 3.6% lower than the fourth quarter of 2019. By contrast, the gap in low-income countries stood at 5.7% and in lower-middle income countries, at 7.3%.

From a regional perspective, Europe and Central Asia experienced the smallest loss of hours worked (2.5%) compared to pre-pandemic levels. This was followed by Asia and the Pacific at 4.6%. Africa, the Americas and Arab States showed declines of 5.6%, 5.4% and 6.5%, respectively.

“Estimates indicate that for each 14 persons fully vaccinated in the second quarter of 2021, one full-time equivalent job was added to the global labour market,” the ILO said, adding that the highly uneven roll-out of vaccinations means that the positive effect was largest in high-income countries, negligible in lower-middle-income countries and almost zero in low-income countries.

“Fiscal stimulus packages continued to be the other key factor in the trajectories of recovery. However, the fiscal stimulus gap remains largely unaddressed, with around 86% of global stimulus measures being concentrated in high-income countries,” it said.

Estimates show that on average, an increase in fiscal stimulus of 1% of annual gross domestic product (GDP) increased annual working hours by 0.3 percentage points relative to the last quarter of 2019, the ILO said.

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