25 Million to Lose Jobs for COVID-19 Pandemic: ILO

A woman speaks on the phone as she walks to work in Singapore. Photo: ILO/Giorgio Taraschi (Representational photo)
A woman speaks on the phone as she walks to work in Singapore. Photo: ILO/Giorgio Taraschi (Representational photo)

The economic and labour crisis created by the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic could increase global unemployment by almost 25 million, according to a new assessment by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

However, according to ILO, if we see an internationally coordinated policy response, as happened in the global financial crisis of 2008/9, then the impact on global unemployment could be significantly lower.

“This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labour market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

The preliminary assessment note, COVID-19 and the world of work: Impacts and responses, calls for urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures across three pillars: protecting workers in the workplace, stimulating the economy and employment, and supporting jobs and incomes.

These measures include extending social protection, supporting employment retention (i.e. short-time work, paid leave, other subsidies), and financial and tax relief, including for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

In addition, the note proposes fiscal and monetary policy measures, and lending and financial support for specific economic sectors.

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Rakesh Raman