Geneva. Four times more jobs were lost to the coronavirus pandemic last year than during the worst part of the 2009 global financial crisis, according to a UN report released Monday.
The International Labor Organization estimated that restrictions on business and public life erased 8.8% of all working hours around the world last year. That’s equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs, meaning the impact of the financial crisis more than a decade ago quadrupled.
“This has been the gravest crisis for the world of work since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its impact is far greater than that of the 2009 global financial crisis,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. The consequences were split almost evenly between the reduction in working hours and the “unprecedented” job losses, he said.
The ILO noted that the drop in jobs translates into a loss of $ 3.7 billion in income globally – an “extraordinary figure,” Ryder said – and women and youth are hit the hardest.
The report forecasts a recovery in the labor market for the second half of the year. But that depends on a reduction in coronavirus infections and the launch of vaccines. Currently, infections are increasing or remaining high in many countries and vaccine distribution remains slow overall.