Pandemic slashes worldwide income from work by a tenth - ILO

by Reuters
Wednesday, 23 September 2020 11:00 GMT

The legs of fruit pickers Genaro Perfecto, 38, and his wife Cecilia Feliciano, 37, are seen as they pose for a photo with their children in the courtyard of their house in San Quintin in Baja California state, Mexico April 1, 2015. Fruit pickers in the Baja California peninsula of Mexico, railing against a life of grinding poverty, have blocked roads, staged marches and held meetings with lawmakers since March as frustration over working conditions boiled over. One labourer in San Quintin, south of the border town of Tijuana, sleeps with his family on the bare earth in a tiny wooden shack on scrubland. He said after picking between 110 kg and 200kg of strawberries a day he earns from $56 to $79 a week. Strawberries fetched $5.19 a kilo on average in the United States in 2013. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

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Workers lost a collective $3.5 trillion during the pandemic, with those in informal work and emerging economies particularly hard hit

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Income earned from work worldwide dropped by an estimated 10.7%, or $3.5 trillion, in the first nine months of 2020, compared to the same period a year ago, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.

The figure, which does not include income support provided by governments to compensate for workplace closures during the pandemic, is equal to 5.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) for the first three quarters of 2019, it said.

"Workplace closures continue to disrupt labour markets around the world, leading to working hour losses that are higher than previously estimated," the ILO said in its sixth report on the effects of the pandemic on the world of work.

Workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal employment, had been affected to a much greater extent than in past crises, the United Nations agency said. It added that a decline in employment numbers had generally been greater for women than men.

"Just as we need to redouble our efforts to beat the virus, so we need to act urgently and at scale to overcome its economic, social and employment impacts. That includes sustaining support for jobs, businesses and incomes," ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said in a statement.

In the second quarter alone, the revised estimate of global working time lost was 17.3%, equivalent to 495 million full-time jobs, against a previous estimate of 14% or 400 million jobs, the report said.

In the third quarter, working-hour losses of 12.1% or equivalent to 345 million jobs were expected, it said.

"Moreover, revised projections for the fourth quarter suggest a bleaker outlook than previously estimated," it said.

Working hours losses in the final quarter of 2020 are now projected to amount to 8.6%, equivalent to 245 million full-time jobs, against the same time a year ago, the ILO said. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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