UN: Coronavirus may cost 400 million jobs in the second quarter

UN: Coronavirus may cost 400 million jobs in the second quarter
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The coronavirus pandemic may cost 400 million jobs in the second quarter of 2020, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

ILO explained that the pandemic could result in a 14% decline in global working hours in the second quarter of the year.

According to the United Nations’ labor agency, the updated decline in working hours was equal to 400 million full-time job losses worldwide in the second quarter, based on a standard 48-hour working week.

This suggested a “sharp increase” on the 10.7% decline in working hours, or 305 million job losses, that the ILO predicted for that period, in its data on the impact of Covid-19 on the labor market released in May.

The ILO pointed out that the Americas were the most affected region, with an estimated 18.3% decline in working hours or 70 million full-time jobs.

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The working-hour losses are measured based on the ILO’s “nowcasting” model. The basis for falls is the fourth quarter of 2019.

The ILO assessed a 5.4% decline in working hours around the world. This is equivalent to 155 million jobs, in comparison to the fourth quarter of last year.

The ILO mentioned the multiple factors that led to the global decline such as, shorter working hours, temporary leave, unemployment, and “inactivity.”

Half the global workforce

ILO previously reported that job loss due to coronavirus may hit nearly half the global workforce. This refers to 1.6 billion in informal work.

These informal workers may become at risk of losing income due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the ILO stated.

Th figure from ILO accounts for nearly four-fifths or 76% of the total 2 billion people in informal work. This is almost half of the entire workforce, of 3.3 billion people, around the world.

The informal economy covers jobs which typically offer little protection, such as for income in case of sickness or lockdown.

According to the United Nations’ labor agency, people in informal work struggled with a 60% decline in income in the first month of the coronavirus crisis. Meanwhile, those in informal work in Africa and the Americas saw the biggest drop, of 81%, based on the estimates.

Global working hours

According to the ILO, the decline in global working hours in the second quarter of 2020 may now be “significantly worse” than its estimates at the beginning of April. This is because of an extension of lockdown measures that keep businesses closed.

ILO now predicts a 10.5% drop in working hours globally in the second three months of 2020. This accounts for 305 million full-time jobs, based on a standard 48-hour working week. The ILO previously noted a 6.7% fall in working hours, which is the equivalent of 195 million jobs.

Guy Ryder, ILO director-general, pointed out that the world should protect the most vulnerable as the pandemic and jobs crisis evolve.

“Millions of businesses around the world are barely breathing,” he said. “These are the real faces of the world of work. If we don’t help them now, they will simply perish.”

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