Hard times forecast for job recovery in 2020: ILO

Vendors in a bakery in Constantine, Algeria, during the COVID-19 crisis. ILO/Yacine Imadalou

Under three possible scenarios for recovery in the next six months, “none” sees the global job situation in better shape than it was before lockdown measures began, the International Labour Organization (ILO) insisted.

“This is why we talk of an uncertain but incomplete recovery even in the best of scenarios for the second half of this year.

So there is not going to be a simple or quick recovery”, said Director-General Guy Ryder, his comments coinciding with new data from the ILO, showing that working hours fell 14 per cent during the second quarter of 2020 – equivalent to the loss of 400 million full-time jobs.

That’s a sharp increase from ILO’s last estimate, issued a month ago, of a 10.7 per cent drop (equivalent to 305 million jobs) from April to June.

According to ILO’s recovery modelling for the second half of 2020, even the most optimistic scenario assumes that global loss of working hours would fall by 1.2 per cent (equivalent to 34 million full-time jobs), compared with the last three months of 2019.

The agency’s baseline model – which assumes a rebound in economic activity in line with existing forecasts – projects a decrease in working hours of 4.9 per cent (equivalent to 140 million full-time jobs). 

ILO’s most pessimistic scenario assumes a second pandemic wave and the return of restrictions that would significantly slow recovery, resulting in a fall in working hours of 11.9 per cent (340 million full-time jobs).