ILO: 34 million jobs lost by the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean

Asha Bajaj
3 min readOct 3, 2020

Lima, ILO, Oct 3: The pandemic has led to a drastic contraction in employment and income in the region, but signs of an early recovery suggest the situation could begin to improve in the coming weeks, International Labour Organization (ILO) reports said.

Food relief during the COVID-19 pandemic in Guatemala. Image credit: © amslerPIX

At least 34 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean have been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization.

Countries need to adopt immediate strategies to address the labour crisis, which, the report says, could widen existing inequalities in the region.

“We face an unprecedented challenge, that of rebuilding the region’s labour markets, which implies facing structural failures that have worsened with the pandemic, such as low productivity, high informality, and inequality of income and opportunities of decent work,” said Vinícius Pinheiro, Director of the ILO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The second edition of the Labour Overview in times of COVID-19: Impacts on the labour market and income in Latin America and the Caribbean warns of “the drastic contraction of employment, hours worked and income.”

“We face an unprecedented challenge, that of rebuilding the region’s labour markets, which implies facing structural failures that have worsened with the pandemic,” Vinícius Pinheiro, Director of the ILO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean said

It says that during this crisis “34 million workers lost their jobs (some temporarily)”, according to available information from nine countries that represent more than 80 per cent of the economically active population of the region. The employment rate reached 51.1 per cent in the first quarter, a reduction of 5.4 percentage points compared to the data for the same period of the previous year, which represents “a historical minimum value.”

The report also highlights that as of the third quarter of 2020, levels of economic activity have slightly improved. Data reveals the beginning of a recovery in employment and a return of some workers to the labour force.

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Asha Bajaj

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