GENEVA — Working-hours lost globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic reached 14 percent, equivalent to about 400 million full-time jobs, with wholesale and retail trade among the most severely affected sectors, a report by the International Labour Organization said Tuesday.
The report said the COVID-19 crisis “is disproportionately affecting women workers” and notes a large proportion — almost 510 million — work in hard-hit sectors, including 214 million in wholesale and retail trade, 148 million in manufacturing, and 76 million in accommodation and food service activities.
“The estimates have revised upward considerably the damage done to our labor markets by the pandemic,” said Guy Ryder, ILO director-general, at a virtual news conference.
“The Americas is the hardest-hit of all the regions, today,” he said.
The updated ILO report notes labor markets have been “severely impacted by the imposition of lockdown measures, which includes various forms of workplace closures.”
It adds, that until June 15, nearly one-third of the world’s workers (32 percent) were living in countries with required workplace closures for all but essential workplaces.
Looking ahead, the ILO projects the labor market recovery in the second half of 2020 “will be uncertain and incomplete.”
Under its baseline scenario, ILO economists project working-hour losses will still be in the order of 4.9 percent, equivalent to 140 million full-time jobs.
Under a gloomy pessimistic scenario — which assumes a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the second half of this year — working-hour losses would be as high as 11.9 percent, equivalent to 340 million full-time jobs.