The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that in the worst-case scenario, a pandemic could cause 24.7 million people to lose their jobs, greater than the financial crisis.
With the “low” scenario, the number of unemployed is only 5.3 million. The average scenario is 13 million, of which 7.4 million are from high-income countries. However, if countries combine policies, the impact can be significantly reduced.
The ILO estimates from a base level of 188 million global workers in 2019. The ILO warns that although these estimates are “uncertain”, it also reflects “unemployment will rise sharply”. During the 2008-2009 global financial crisis increased global unemployment by 22 million.
The pandemic causes a series of countries to blockade, economic activities stalled, especially in the consumption of goods and services. In the report, the ILO indicated that global workers will lose $ 860 – $ 3,400 billion because of unemployment.
The strain on incomes will devastate workers close to or below the poverty line. Over 35 million additional people will be in working poverty worldwide compared to the period before the epidemic.
“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,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “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.
ILO policy recommendations are to protect workers, such as encouraging flexible work. Central banks around the globe are also lowering interest rates to support the economy. Meanwhile, governments have announced financial support to ease the impact on businesses and workers.