Around 25 million people working in different sectors may lose their jobs worldwide due to the economic and labour crisis created by the coronavirus outbreak, said International Labour Organisation (ILO).
According to the new assessment from the ILO, an internationally coordinated policy response, as happened in the global financial crisis of 2008-09, can significantly lower the impact on global unemployment.
The 2008-09 global financial crisis increased global unemployment by 22 million.
The preliminary assessment note, COVID-19 and the world of work: Impacts and responses, calls for urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures. The assessment includes three important actions – protecting workers in the workplace, stimulating the economy and employment, and supporting jobs and incomes.
It also mentioned measures like extending social protection, supporting employment retention (i.e. short-time work, paid leave, other subsidies), and financial and tax relief, including for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
Besides, the note proposes fiscal and monetary policy measures, and lending and financial support for specific economic sectors.
The ILO assessment said the virus outbreak will also increase underemployment as the economic consequences of the virus outbreak turn into reductions in working hours and wages. Self-employment in developing countries, which often serves to cushion the impact of changes, may not do so this time because of restrictions on the movement of people and goods.
Falls in employment also means large income losses for workers between $860 billion to $3.4 trillion by the end of 2020.
Working poverty is expected to increase significantly too, as "the strain on incomes resulting from the decline in economic activity will devastate workers close to or below the poverty line". The ILO estimates that between 8.8 and 35 million additional people will be in working poverty worldwide.
The ILO note warns that certain groups including people in less protected and low-paid jobs, particularly youth and older workers, women and migrants will be disproportionately affected by the jobs crisis.
The Director-General of ILO Guy Ryder said, "This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labour market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people."
"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," he added.