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COVID-19 causes devastating losses in working hours and employment

(GENEVA, ILO News) – The COVID-19 crisis  is expected to wipe out 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020 – equivalent to 195 million full-time workers. 

Huge losses are expected across different income groups but especially in upper-middle income countries (7.0 per cent, 100 million full-time workers). This far exceeds the effects of the 2008-9 financial crisis. 

Large reductions are foreseen in the Arab States (8.1 per cent, equivalent to 5 million full-time workers), Europe (7.8 per cent, or 12 million full-time workers) and Asia and the Pacific (7.2 per cent, 125 million full-time workers). 

The sectors most at risk include accommodation and food services, manufacturing, retail, and business and administrative activities. 

The eventual increase in global unemployment during 2020 will depend substantially on future developments and policy measures. There is a high risk that the end-of-year figure will be significantly higher than the initial ILO projection, of 25 million. 

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