The International Labour Organization (ILO) on Wednesday announced an increase in estimated full-time job losses to 10.5% of the world’s workforce to 305 million since the beginning of 2020.
The drop was due to “the prolongation and extension of lockdown measures” imposed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the ILO told reporters in a virtual press conference in Geneva.
The ILO also noted that the sharp decline in working hours globally due to COVID-19 meant that 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy — nearly half the global workforce — were in immediate danger of losing their livelihoods.
“As the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the most vulnerable becomes even more urgent,” said ILO-Director General Guy Ryder.
“For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future. Millions of businesses around the world are barely breathing,” he said.
The organization called for urgent, targeted and flexible measures to support workers and businesses, particularly smaller enterprises, those in the informal economy and others who were vulnerable.
The organization said that compared to pre-COVID-19 crisis levels in the fourth quarter of 2019, a 10.5% deterioration was now expected to have occurred — the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs assuming a 48-hour working week.
The previous estimate had been a 6.7% drop, which translates to 195 million full-time employees.
Ryder said that on top of losing their jobs, informal workers also had 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,” said Ryder.
Without alternative income sources, such workers and their families will have no means to survive, he added.