Global unemployment in the year 2022 is expected to rise to 207 million according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) World Employment and Social Outlook. Comparing this number to the year 2019, this is 21 million more than when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
This 2022, the global working hours are at 2%, which is equivalent to the loss of about 52 million full-time jobs, below the pre-pandemic level. Accordion to ILO, this deficit is twice as big as the expected number of ILO’s forecast in May 2021. Furthermore, this trend in the forecast is reflective of the impact of COVID-19’s new variants on the world of work. It is also estimated to affect around 40 million more people who will no longer be active in the global labor force.
It is without a doubt that nothing is certain, especially not the future path of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, there are wider economic risks present, such as the acceleration of the global inflation rate.
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed millions of children into poverty. In 2020, around 30 million adults also fell into poverty. Extreme poverty is described as living on $1.90 or less daily while being out of paid work. The number of people who belong to the extreme working poor — individuals who cannot earn enough through their work to keep themselves and their families above the poverty line — has increased by over 8 million.
Looking at the countries that have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, several low and middle-income nations not only have minimal access to medical assistance, such as vaccines but have also suffered from the limited scope necessary for their governments to expand their budgets in order to address the crisis. Thus, these nations are struggling even more to return to their employment rate and job quality before the pandemic, as compared to that of high-income countries.
The Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, the Arab States, and Europe have yet to return to their pre-pandemic levels in terms of key labor market indicators. All regions are at risk of severe downside to their labor market, which is rooted in the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nations whose outlook is the most negative include the Caribbean, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
Some of the sectors of these affected nations — sectors like travel and tourism — have experienced a particularly hard hit. However, some of the affected nations’ sectors — particularly those related to information technology — have thrived due to the increase in demand for digital tools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, data has shown that women have been hit the hardest by the nation’s labor market crises as compared to men. There is a high chance that this will continue as the path that this pandemic will take is unpredictable.
Looking at the educational and training institutions that have been affected, it is highly likely that this will have long-term implications for young people, as well as those that have little to no access to the Internet. As the need for information technology increases, it magnifies a country’s effort (or lack thereof) to progress internet accessibility.
Another sector that has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is the population of temporary workers, most of which have lost their jobs at the start of the crisis. However, data has shown that many new temporary jobs have also been created since then.
It is crucial that every nation focuses on broad-based labor market recovery, and that this recovery process should be sustainable, inclusive, resilient, and human-centered.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said that there is no real recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic unless there is a broad-based labor market recovery.