Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - World’s workers lost $3.5T to Covid




World’s workers lost $3.5T to Covid

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
French officials are looking to speed up testing as they battle against rising infections. AFP

World’s workers lost $3.5T to Covid

The coronavirus pandemic is taking a heavier toll on jobs than previously feared, the UN said on Wednesday, with hundreds of millions of jobs lost and workers suffering a “massive” drop in earnings.

In a fresh study, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) found that by the mid-year point, global working hours had declined by 17.3 per cent compared to last December – equivalent to nearly 500 million full-time jobs.

That is nearly 100 million more job-equivalents than the number forecast by the ILO back in June when it expected 14 per cent of working hours to be lost by the end of the second three-month period of the year.

“The impact has been catastrophic,” ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters in a virtual briefing, pointing out that global labour income had shrunk by 10.7 per cent during the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year.

That amounts to a drop of some $3.5 trillion, or 5.5 per cent of the overall global gross domestic product (GDP), the ILO said.

Since surfacing in China late last year, the novel coronavirus has killed nearly one million people worldwide out of the more than 31 million infected.

In addition to the health challenges, lockdowns, travel restrictions and other measures taken to rein in the virus have had a devastating impact on jobs and income across the globe.

The ILO also warned that the outlook for the final three months of 2020 had “worsened significantly” since its last report in June.

The organisation had previously forecast that global working hours would be 4.9 per cent lower in the fourth quarter than a year earlier. But it said it now expected an 8.6 per cent drop, which corresponds to 245 million full-time jobs.

It said workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal jobs, had been much more affected than in past crises.

The ILO also pointed out that while many of the most stringent workplace closures have been relaxed, 94 per cent of the world’s workers were in countries where some sort of workplace restrictions remained in place.

And Sangheon Lee, head of ILO’s employment policy division, warned that the situation for workers could worsen further.

If second waves of infections bring tighter restrictions and new lockdowns, he said, “the impact on the labour market could be comparable to the magnitude we saw in the second quarter of this year”.

Ryder cautioned against those pushing for policymakers to focus on economy over health in their response to the pandemic.

“It is very clear that the capacity and speed with which the global economy can get out of its labour market slump is intimately linked to our capacity to control the pandemic,” he said.

“These two things are very, very intimately intertwined, and we have to act on that understanding.”

The ILO’s report meanwhile showed that the labour market devastation could have been worse without the numerous fiscal stimulus packages provided by governments.

Without such stimulus efforts – amounting to around $9.6 trillion globally – global working hours would have shrunk by a full 28 per cent in the second quarter, it said.

But it warned that fiscal stimulus was delivered very unevenly, with low- and middle-income countries receiving around $982 billion less in overall support than their wealthy counterparts.

Ryder urged international efforts to close the gap, insisting that “no group, country or region can beat this crisis alone”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to