Losses of working hours caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have brought a massive drop in labour income for workers around the world, says the International Labour Organization (ILO), in its latest assessment of the effects of the pandemic on the world of work.
Global labour income is estimated to have declined by 10.7% or $3.5 trillion, in the first three quarters of 2020 – compared with the same period in 2019. This figure excludes income support provided through government measures.
The biggest drop was in lower-middle-income countries, where the labour income losses reached 15.1%, with America's hardest-hit region at 12.1%.
According to the ILO Publication, "ILO Monitor: Covid-19 and the World of Work," global working hour losses in the first nine months of 2020 have been considerably larger than estimated in the previous edition of the Monitor, which was issued on June 30.
For example, the revised estimate of global working time lost in the second quarter (Q2) of this year – when compared to Q4 2019 – is for 17.3%, equivalent to 495 million full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, based on a 48-hour working week. The earlier estimate was for 14% or 400 million FTE jobs.
In Q3 of 2020, global working hour losses of 12.1%, 345 million FTE jobs, are expected.
The outlook for Q4 has worsened significantly since the last ILO Monitor was issued. Under the ILO's baseline scenario, global working-hour losses are now projected to amount to 8.6% in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to Q4 2019, which corresponds to 245 million FTE jobs.
This is an increase from the ILO's previous estimate of 4.9% or 140 million FTE jobs.
One reason for the estimated increases in working-hour losses is that workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal employment, have been much more affected than in past crises, the Monitor says.
It also notes that the drop in employment is more attributable to inactivity than unemployment, with important policy implications.
While many stringent workplace closures have been relaxed, there are significant variations between regions. A total 94% of the workers are still in countries with some sort of workplace restrictions and 32% are in countries with closures of all but essential workplaces.