The recovery of the global labor market has stalled and significant disparities between advanced and developing economies persist, as well as large disparities between different labor groups within countries in need of redress. urgently to avoid a catastrophic impact on the workforce, including the complete loss of livelihoods, pushing them into extreme poverty and hunger.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) not only noted these facts, but also released a report containing these facts just before the G20 Leaders’ Summit and COP26. The report titled “COVID-19 and the World of Work” warned that without concrete financial and technical support, these alarming situations would persist.
Not only that, he also urged COP26 to take urgent action to tackle climate change which should prioritize decent work and a just transition to greener economies. Clearly, the G20 and COP26 have an important role to play in a swift and fair recovery of the labor market.
The eighth edition of the ILO Monitor predicted that the number of hours worked globally in 2021 will be 4.3 percent below pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter of 2019. This equates to 125 million full-time job losses.
Only a few months ago, in June, even the ILO did not expect such a large loss in 2021, when it predicted that the total number of hours worked would amount to only 3.5%. to just 100 million full-time job losses.
Therefore, the ILO said, the loss of working hours in 2021 due to the pandemic will be considerably higher than expected, as a two-speed recovery between developed and developing countries threatens the global economy. in general.
The ILO monitor further found that the total number of hours worked in high-income countries in the third quarter of 2021 was 3.6 percent lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019. In contrast, the gap in low-income countries was 5.7 percent and in lower-middle-income countries 7.3%.
Regionally, Europe and Central Asia saw the smallest loss of hours worked, around 2.5 percent, compared to pre-pandemic levels. Asia and the Pacific follow at 4.6 percent. Africa, the Americas and the Arab States recorded declines of 5.6%, 5.4% and 6.5% respectively.
Several reasons for these alarming conditions have been highlighted by the ILO, including the disparities in the deployment of immunization and fiscal stimulus programs announced and implemented by various countries and international organizations. The “great divergence” would persist if steps are not taken in the right way, he said.
Estimates indicate that for 14 people fully vaccinated in the second quarter of 2021, a full-time equivalent job has been added to the global labor market, significantly boosting the labor market recovery.
However, the very uneven deployment of vaccinations has inflicted great disparities and created great imbalances that could only be addressed quickly and effectively through greater global solidarity.
The ILO estimates that low-income countries can catch up with richer economies in just over three months if they have equitable access to vaccines.
Fiscal stimulus packages continued to be the other key factor in the recovery trajectory, according to the report. However, the fiscal stimulus gap remains largely unmet. About 86% of global stimulus were concentrated in high-income countries. Estimates show that on average, an increase in fiscal stimulus of 1 percent of annual GDP increased annual working time by 0.3 percentage point compared to the last quarter of 2019.
The pandemic has also impacted productivity, workers, and businesses in ways that have led to greater disparities. The productivity gap between advanced and developing countries is expected to reach the highest level recorded since 2005, rising from 17.5: 1 to 18: 1 in real terms.
“The current trajectory of labor markets is one of a stalled recovery, with the emergence of major downside risks,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryader. At the ILO, he said, they have already started to act. Last June, the International Labor Conference adopted a global call to action for a people-centered recovery by committing to ensure it is fully inclusive, sustainable and resilient, a roadmap that is fully aligned with and supports the United Nations common agenda and its global accelerator. for employment and social protection.
While urging COP26, which opens on October 31, to prioritize the world of work aspects of the Paris Agreement, the ILO says governments need to incorporate concrete measures to promote decent work and protect livelihoods. Along with these measures, comprehensive and coherent policies are needed, involving all actors in the world of work, to enable successful structural change and profound economic and social transformations.
The ILO also issued guidelines for the green jobs agenda and stressed the need to roll out a full range of social and labor market policies, which include concrete actions in the areas of sustainable growth, industrial policies and sectoral, employment and social protection policy, public investment, companies, governance of labor migration, skills, occupational health and safety, social protection, labor market policies , rights, social dialogue and tripartism.
The needs and priorities of indigenous and tribal peoples, persons with disabilities, displaced persons with disabilities, migrant workers, informal economy and rural sector workers and youth should also be taken into account.
All of this requires adequate national and international funding that developed countries must provide.
Views are personal