A report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has shared that global employment will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023, with a projected shortfall in work hours worked in 2022 equivalent to 52 million full-time jobs.
The United Nations agency said it had reduced its forecast for the year due to the emergence of the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants as well as the many uncertainties about the trajectory of the pandemic.
Global unemployment is also projected to be higher than pre-pandemic levels, with 207 million people expected to be out of work in 2022, compared with 186 million in 2019, according to the report.
Unemployment rates across the globe are projected to reach 5.9 percent in 2022, improved from 6.2 percent last year and 6.6 percent in 2020, but still above 5.4 percent in 2019.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said the global labour market is facing a “slow and uncertain” path to recovery from the pandemic.
“We are already seeing potentially lasting damage to labour markets, along with concerning increases in poverty and inequality,” Ryder said in a press release that accompanied the report.
“Many workers are being required to shift to new types of work – for example in response to the prolonged slump in international travel and tourism.”
“There can be no real recovery from this pandemic without a broad-based labour market recovery,” Ryder added. “And to be sustainable, this recovery must be based on the principles of decent work – including health and safety, equity, social protection and social dialogue.”
The ILO report warned that emerging economies have not recovered at the same pace as their developed peers, with underlying inequalities “amplifying and prolonging the adverse impact of the crisis.”
North America and Europe displayed the strongest signs of recovery, while labour markets in Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean fared the worst, according to the report.
“The damaging impact of the pandemic on jobs and livelihoods, if not quickly reversed, will run the risk of inducing long-term structural change with enduring adverse implications for labour markets,” the report said. “Uneven impacts of containment measures and the decent work deficits that they have contributed to are threatening the prospects for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”