The COVID-19 pandemic will significantly increase global unemployment, unemploy up to 25 million people, and drastically reduce workers' income, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
In a new study, the International Labor Organization warned that the economic and labor crisis triggered by the spread of the new corona virus, which has now killed over 8,000 people worldwide, will have "far-reaching effects on labor market outcomes".
"This is no longer just a global health crisis, but also a major labor market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people," said ILO chief Guy Ryder in a statement.
The UN agency's study suggested that the world should prepare for a "significant increase in unemployment and underemployment due to the virus".
Different scenarios were presented depending on how quickly and with which level of coordination the governments react. Even at best, 5.3 million people will be forced into unemployment by the crisis.
In the high-end sector, 24.7 million people are now unemployed, in addition to the 188 million registered as unemployed in 2019.
"In comparison, the global financial crisis of 2008/09 increased global unemployment by 22 million," said the ILO.
She warned that "underemployment is expected to increase on a large scale as the economic impact of the virus outbreak will reduce working hours and wages".
$ 3.4 Trillion Income Loss?
Independence in developing countries, which is often used to cushion the effects of economic change, may not be possible this time due to the strict restrictions on the movement of people and goods.
Restricting access to work will also mean "large income losses for workers," the ILO said.
"The study estimates that it will be between $ 860 and $ 3.4 trillion by the end of 2020," she warned. "This will lead to a decrease in the consumption of goods and services, which in turn affects the prospects for companies and economies."
The number of people living in poverty despite one or more jobs will also increase significantly. It is estimated that between 8.8 and 35 million more people will join the working poor.
"The income burden due to the decline in economic activity will destroy workers near or below the poverty line," it said.
The ILO called for urgent, comprehensive and coordinated measures to protect workers at work, promote economy and employment, and support jobs and income, including through social protection, paid leave and other subsidies.
The agency pointed out that some groups, including young people, older workers, women and migrants, will be disproportionately affected by the employment crisis, which could increase the already growing inequality.
"In 2008, the world presented a united front to deal with the aftermath of the global financial crisis and the worst was averted," said Ryder.
"We need that kind of leadership and determination now."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)