Drops in working hours due to the Covid-19 crisis have had a devastating effect on jobs and incomes in Asia and the Pacific according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
According to Asia–Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2020: Navigating the crisis towards a human-centred future of work estimates, the economic backlash of the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out some 81 million jobs in 2020.
In nearly all economies with available quarterly data for 2020, employment levels contracted compared to 2019.
The impact of the crisis has been far-reaching, with underemployment surging as millions of workers are asked to work reduced hours or no hours at all.
15.2% decrease in working hours
Overall, working hours in Asia and the Pacific decreased by an estimated 15.2 per cent in the second quarter and by 10.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, relative to pre-crisis levels.
Working-hour losses are also influenced by the millions of persons moving outside the labour force or into unemployment as job creation in the region collapsed. Using available quarterly data, the report provides a preliminary estimate that the regional unemployment rate could increase from 4.4 per cent in 2019 to somewhere between 5.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent in 2020.
“COVID-19 has inflicted a hammer-blow on the region’s labour markets, one that few governments in the region stood ready to…