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World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2022 report

Published: 24th Jan, 2022


Global unemployment is expected to remain above pre-Covid-19 levels until at least 2023 and is estimated at 207 million this year, almost 21 million more than in 2019, according to a report from the International Labour Organisation that gives assessments on how labour market recovery has unfolded worldwide.


Key-highlights of the Report

  • The Geneva-based United Nations agency has downgraded its forecast for labour market recovery in 2022, projecting a deficit in hours worked globally equivalent to 52 million full-time jobs, relative to the fourth quarter of 2019. 
  • The previous full-year estimate in May 2021 projected a deficit of 26 million full-time equivalent jobs.
  • While this latest projection is an improvement on the situation in 2021, it remains almost two per cent below the number of global hours worked pre-pandemic, according to the ILO World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2022 report.
  • The report warns of slow and uncertain recovery as the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on global labour markets.
  • Global unemployment is expected to remain above pre-Covid-19 levels until at least 2023. 
  • The 2022 level is estimated at 207 million, compared to 186 million in 2019, the report said.
  • It also cautions that the overall impact on employment is significantly greater than represented in these figures because many people have left the labour force.

Impact of low access to vaccines

  • Many low and middle-income countries have low access to vaccines and limited scope to expand government budgets to address the crisis.
  • Thus, these countries are struggling more than high-income ones to get back to pre-pandemic levels of employment and job quality.
  • Key labour market indicators in all regions — Africa, the Americas, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia — have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • All regions face severe downside risks to their labour market recovery that stem from the ongoing impact of the pandemic. The outlook is the most negative for Latin America and the Caribbean and for southeast Asia.

Reason behind the downgrade

  • The downgrade in the 2022 forecast reflects, to some extent, the impact that recent variants of Covid-19, such as Delta and Omicron, are having on the world of work, as well as significant uncertainty regarding the future course of the pandemic.

Who has been hit hard?

  • Some sectors, such as travel and tourism have been particularly hard hit, while other sectors such as those related to information technology have thrived.
  • Women have been worse hit by the labour market crisis than men and this is likely to continue. The closing of education and training institutions will have long-term implications for young people, particularly those without internet access.
  • Many temporary workers lost their jobs at the start of the crisis. However, many new temporary jobs have also been created since.

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