Coronavirus could leave HALF the world’s workforce unemployed or without
income, UN agency warns
A UN agency has revealed 1.6 billion people could lose their jobs and
The workers, part of informal economy, are in 'immediate danger', agency
The report sharply raised forecast for the devastating impact of
Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
By Danyal Hussain For Mailonline
Published: 17:40 EDT, 29 April 2020 | Updated: 20:06 EDT, 29 April 2020
Almost half of the entire global work force could lose their livelihoods
because of the coronavirus pandemic, a UN agency has revealed.
The International Labour Organisation reported on Wednesday that some 1.6
billion workers in the informal economy are in 'immediate danger' of losing
The informal economy refers to any labour that isn't monitored by the
government and where the workers don't pay tax, such as restaurant staff,
cleaners and street vendors.
There are around 2 billion informal workers in the world, out of a total
workforce 3.3 billion.
The ILO's latest report sharply raised its forecast for the devastating
impact on jobs and incomes of the COVID-19 disease, which has infected more
than 3.1 million people globally, killed nearly 220,000 and shut down
'It shows I think in the starkest possible terms that the jobs employment
crisis and all of its consequences is deepening by comparison with our
estimates of 3 weeks ago,' ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told a briefing,
foreseeing a 'massive' poverty impact.
Already, wages of the world's 2 billion informal workers plunged by an
estimated global average of 60% in the first month that the crisis unfolded
in each region, the ILO said.
Informal workers are the most vulnerable of the 3.3 billion global
workforce, lacking welfare protection, access to good healthcare, or the
means to work from home, it stressed.
'For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no
future. Millions of businesses around the world are barely breathing,' said
Ryder. 'They have no savings or access to credit.
'These are the real faces of the world of work. If we don't help them now,
they will simply perish.'
The ILO said prolonged lockdowns and office and plant closures are now
expected to lead to an 'even' worse fall in total working hours worldwide in
the second quarter than what was forecast just three weeks ago.
Worst-hit sectors are manufacturing, accommodation and food services,
wholesale and retail trade, and real estate and business activities.
Total working hours in the second quarter are expected to be 10.5 per cent
lower, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs, than the last pre-crisis
quarter, the ILO said, with biggest declines forecast for the Americas,
Europe and Central Asia.
The previous ILO estimate on April 7 was that disruptions would wipe out
labour equivalent to the effort of 195 million workers, or 6.7% of hours
About 436 million enterprises - businesses or self-employed - face 'high
risks' of disruption, the agency added.
The long-term panorama was unclear.
'The eventual increase in global unemployment over 2020 will depend
substantially on how the world economy fares in the second half of the year
and how effectively policy measures will preserve existing jobs and boost
labour demand once the recovery phase begins,' it said.
As governments splurge unprecedented cash to counteract the crisis, the ILO
urged them to speed procedures for unemployment benefits, extend support to
independent workers, and fast-track small and informal businesses' access to
credit and loans.
'As the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the most
vulnerable becomes even more urgent,' Ryder added.