The devastating losses in working hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought a “massive” drop in labor income for workers around the world, says the International Labour Organization (ILO) in its latest assessment of the effects of the pandemic on the world of work.
Global labor income is estimated to have declined by 10.7 percent, or US$ 3.5 trillion, in the first three quarters of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. This figure excludes income support provided through government measures.
The biggest drop was in lower-middle income countries, where the labor income losses reached 15.1 percent, with the Americas the hardest hit region at 12.1 percent.
The ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Sixth edition , says that the global working hour losses in the first nine months of 2020 have been “considerably larger” than estimated in the previous edition of the Monitor (issued on 30 June).
The outlook for Q4 has worsened significantly. Under the ILO’s baseline scenario, global working-hour losses are now projected to amount to 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 (compared to Q4 2019), which corresponds to 245 million FTE jobs. This is an increase from the ILO’s previous estimate of 4.9 percent or 140 million FTE jobs.
One reason for the estimated increases in working-hour losses is that workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal employment, have been much more affected than by past crises, the Monitor says.
It also notes that the drop in employment is more attributable to inactivity than to unemployment, with important policy implications.
While many stringent workplace closures have been relaxed, there are significant variations between regions. 94 percent of workers are still in countries with some sort of workplace restrictions, and 32 percent are in countries with closures for all but essential workplaces.