Pandemic to Cause Unemployment to Millions of People – A Huge Economic Fall Down
The whole wave of COVID-19 pandemic for the last 1.5 years has caused terror in each of our lives. There has been an immense negative aspect of the whole pandemic, where lives have ended, people have fallen ill, etc. But more than anything, there has been a significant impact on unemployment, and as per reports, it has been expected for the pandemic to cause unemployment. There were tons of individuals who were laid off from their job. Professionals were also asked to leave.
Recovery from the COVID-19 is not just about health anymore. The ‘Health’ aspect is getting in control after a massive outbreak of 1.5 years of rising COVID-19 cases, but now the bigger concern is the ‘Unemployment’. The very serious damage to societies and economies has taken a toll on the economy.
However, the impact does not put a full stop here, as it has just begun. As per studies, it has been claimed that almost 200 million+ people will be unemployed by the end of 2022.
Impact of the Pandemic on Economies Worldwide
The pandemic has brought disruption to the economies of most countries. The United Nations Labour experts state that the crisis has hit women and youth labourers the most. In the US, it has made an impact on all the economic sectors, and as per reports, in April 2020, the unemployment rate reached a new high of 14.8%. The worst-hit regions in the first half of 2021 are Europe, Latin America, Central Asia, and the Caribbean. The working hour losses have been in the range of six to eight per cent in these regions.
The pandemic’s impact seems to have hit women more than men, with the reports showing an employment fall of 5% in 2020. The main reason for this was the increase in women’s domestic responsibilities everywhere. Youth employment fell by 8.7%, especially in middle-income countries. Experts fear that this impact on young people could remain for years. The pandemic also led to disruption to billions of the world’s informal sector workers.
Unemployment at Its Peak in the Coming Months
As per the UN Labour expert recently, the economic crisis which has been caused due to the pandemic is expected to significantly impact the unemployment levels in the coming months. Amongst the whole lot, the women and young workers will be hit the most. Although the world has started emerging and will become a better place from the health crises it went through in these years, the five years of eradicating poverty will all be washed away.
The impact of unemployment has already started to get reflected in many parts of the world. Some of the worst-hit parts have been Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, Caribbean. These are mostly the areas that have been prominent victims of the uneven recovery. In Asia, the cases have gone down, but still, the number is quite high to allow everything to come back to normal.
These areas have seen the estimate of the loss of the working hours exceed as high as 8% in the first quarter and 6% in the second quarter of 2021.
Roles of Women and Youth Questioned
Women have been and will be the biggest victims of the problem of pandemics to cause unemployment.
There has been a 5% fall in employment amongst women as compared to 3.9% in men. The labour market has a lot to contribute to it, as many women had to drop off from the labour market due to the increasing COVID cases.
Apart from women, youth employment has also gone through its share of struggles. The segment of youth has been impacted negatively by the whole economic downturn. The fall in the employment percentage was 8.7 for the youth compared to 3.7 % for the adults, which is a massive difference.
Amongst all, one of the most pronounced falls has been for the countries with middle-income groups. These consequences of the delays and the whole distribution to the labour market leading to losing jobs could last for years.
Shift from ‘Poor’ to ‘Extremely Poor’
The disruption caused by the pandemic has also led to some of the catastrophic consequences for the workers belonging to the informal sector, which constitute two billion approximately.
In comparison with 2019, in today’s time, 108 million workers across the globe additionally now come under the category of ‘Extremely Poor’ who were initially under the ‘Poor’ category. This means that the families earn less than $3.20 per person per day, making them fall way below the poverty line.
No doubt, there have been some signs of recovery with the whole campaign of vaccines, but this recovery is very uneven and fragile. In 2019, the global unemployment was 187 million, but as per the ILO experts, by the end of 2022, it will cross 205 million.
The Gap in the Jobs
There is a significant rise in the job gap of 75 million in the first half of 2021 itself. However, this is most likely to fall to 23 million by the end of 2022, keeping in mind the current circumstances and assuming that the pandemic will subside.
The drop in the working hours, which also considers the job gap, and the individuals who are working for fewer hours, amount to approximately 100 million full-time jobs in 2021, and this figure is estimated to be 26 million by 2022.
There is a shortfall in working hours and employment, which is now at the top of the high pre-crisis employment levels, poor working conditions, and underutilization of the labour.
There is a dire need to take deliberate efforts to accelerate creating jobs and provide support to the vulnerable individuals of society to sustain these tough times.
The lingering effects of the worst-hit pandemic could stay in the economy for decades if timely actions are not taken. These effects could range from loss of human life, inequality to higher poverty. The ILO experts feel that the world requires a well-strategized and coordinated plan based on human-centric policies, which is backed up by proper funding. By utilising these 4 principles such as promotion of economic growth and creation of productive employment, supporting the household incomes and the transitions of the labour market, strengthening of the institutional foundations, usage of the social dialogues to develop strategies that are human-centric.
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