ILO: Employment impact of the pandemic worse than expected

Asha Bajaj
3 min readOct 30, 2021

#ILO; #GlobalBusiness; #laborMarket, #unemployment, #economicRecovery, #lowincome, #COVID19

GENEVA/Canadian-Media: The loss of working hours in 2021 because of the pandemic will be significantly higher than previously estimated, as a two-speed recovery between developed and developing nations threatens the global economy as a whole, says the International Labor Organization (ILO), ILO news reports said.

The ILO is now projecting that global hours worked in 2021 will be 4.3 percent below pre-pandemic levels (the fourth quarter of 2019), the equivalent of 125 million full-time jobs. This represents a dramatic revision of the ILO’s June projection of 3.5 percent or 100 million full-time jobs.

The eighth edition of the ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work, warns that without concrete financial and technical support, a “great divergence” in employment recovery trends between developed and developing countries will persist.

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

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

Vaccines and fiscal stimulus

This great divergence is largely driven by the major differences in the roll-out of vaccinations and fiscal stimulus packages.

Estimates indicate that for every 14 persons fully vaccinated in the second quarter of 2021, one full-time equivalent job was added to the global labor market. This substantially boosted the recovery.

Globally, losses in hours worked — in the absence of any vaccines — would have stood at 6.0 percent in the second quarter of 2021, rather than the 4.8 percent actually recorded.

However, 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.



Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women