25 Million Jobs Could Be Lost Due To COVID-19: ILO

As dire forecasts about the global economy add to the anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nation’s labor agency released projections of the impact of the deadly disease.

The economic and labor crisis created by the coronavirus outbreak could increase global unemployment by almost 25 million, according to a new assessment by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

It may be recalled that the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 worsened global unemployment by 22 million.

Based on different scenarios for the impact of COVID-19 on global GDP growth, the ILO estimates indicate a rise in global unemployment of between 5.3 million (“low” scenario) and 24.7 million (“high” scenario) from a base level of 188 million in 2019.

Falls in employment also mean large income losses for workers. This will translate into falls in consumption of goods and services, in turn affecting the prospects for businesses and economies, ILO warns.

The preliminary assessment report titled “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.

To protect workers in the workplace, ILO advocated for teleworking and staggered hours; greater paid sick leave; and occupational support.

It also calls on governments and global monetary funds to work out fiscal and monetary policy measures, and to provide lending and financial support for specific economic sectors.

Cutting interest rates can stimulate the economy and accelerate employment, ILO opines.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week had signed a $100 billion emergency relief package that will benefit workers and the general public affected by COVID-19.

COVID-19 has so far affected 190 countries around the world. In all, 19500 deaths and 425,964 cases of infection have been reported worldwide.

All major stock markets are under pressure amid growing concerns over the economic and financial impact of the outbreak.

Oil and gold prices crashed. Aviation industry was hit hard as several countries imposed travel restrictions on their borders.

Several cities in the affected countries shut down bars, restaurants, resorts, casinos and educational institutions and other public places to prevent the spread of the killer disease.

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

“In 2008, the world presented a united front to address the consequences of the global financial crisis, and the worst was averted. We need that kind of leadership and resolve now,” according to him.

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