Global job market will take longer to recover; 2022 to see 52 mn less jobs than pre-pandemic level: ILO

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Global job market will take longer to recover; 2022 to see 52 mn less jobs than pre-pandemic level: ILO
© PTI Global job market will take longer to recover; 2022 to see 52 mn less jobs than pre-pandemic level: ILO

The job market across economies will take longer to recover, and the world labour market will witness equivalent of 52 million less jobs in 2022 versus the pre Covid-19 levels, International Labour Organisation (ILO) said on January 17.

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The global labour market outlook has deteriorated as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to infect people and restrict economic recovery, the UN body said, adding that “a return to pre-pandemic performance is likely to remain elusive for much of the world over the coming years”.

“On the basis of the latest economic growth forecasts, the ILO is projecting that total hours worked globally in 2022 will remain almost 2 percent below their pre-pandemic level when adjusted for population growth, corresponding to a deficit of 52 million full-time equivalent jobs (assuming a 48-hour working week),” ILO said in a report.

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The silver line is that the projected deficit in 2022 is less than 2021 and 2020. In 2021, the UN agency had estimated that there were some 125 million fewer jobs than pre-pandemic levels, and in 2020, it was 258 million fewer.

Disruptions, are set to continue even in 2023, and there will be a “slow and uncertain” recovery in the job market, ILO said in its world employment outlook report.

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Since the onset of the recovery, employment growth trends in low- and middle-income countries have remained significantly below those observed in richer economies, owing largely to the lower vaccination rates and tighter fiscal space in developing countries.

“The impact has been particularly serious for developing nations that experienced higher levels of inequality, more divergent working conditions and weaker social protection systems even before the pandemic,” it added.

Overall, key labour market indicators in all regions – Africa, the Americas, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia – have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. The projection comes as the Omicron variant of the covid-19 continues to infect millions across economies.

For all regions, projections to 2023 suggest that a full recovery will remain elusive. The European and Pacific regions are projected to come closest to that goal, whereas the outlook is the most negative for Latin America and the Caribbean and for Southeast Asia. All regions face severe downside risks to their labour market recovery that stem from the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

“Moreover, the pandemic is structurally altering labour markets in such ways that a return to pre-crisis baselines may well be insufficient to make up for the damage caused by the pandemic,” the ILO pointed out.

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