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COVID-19: 195 Million Workers Could Lose Job In 3 Months

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The COVID-19 crisis is expected to wipe out 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

This is equivalent to 195 million full-time workers losing their job.

The rapidly intensifying economic effects of COVID-19 on the labor workforce are proving to be far worse than the 2008-9 financial crisis, the UN labour agency said in its latest report.

Large reductions are foreseen in Arab countries (8.1 per cent, equivalent to 5 million workers), Europe (7.8 per cent, or 12 million workers) and Asia and the Pacific (7.2 per cent, or 125 million workers).

Huge losses are expected across different income groups in the next three months, especially in upper-middle income countries.

Workers in four sectors that have experienced the most "drastic" effects of the disease and falling production are food and accommodation, retail and wholesale, business services and administration, and manufacturing.

Together, they add up to 37.5 per cent of global employment and this is where the "sharp end" of the impact of the pandemic is being felt now, said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

"Workers and businesses are facing catastrophe, in both developed and developing economies," the ILO chief added.

Ryder warned that the world's 136 million health and social professionals, who are working in the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus, are at high risk of contracting the disease.

The full or partial lockdown measures are affecting almost 2.7 billion workers - four in five of the world's workforce, as per ILO's assessment.

The report, titled "ILO Monitor 2nd edition: COVID-19 and the world of work", describes COVID-19 as "the worst global crisis since World War II",

Ryder said that without appropriate policy measures, workers face a high risk of falling into poverty and will experience greater challenges in regaining their livelihoods during the recovery period.

Meanwhile, another UN study into the financial and human cost of the pandemic gives a bleak warning that it could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion.

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