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200m Nigerians, other countries’ workers may lose jobs in 2022

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has raised concerns that the economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 pandemic was expected to lead to the global unemployment of more than 200 million people, including Nigerians by 2022.

The global labour body said that women and youth workers were worst hit by the economic crisis and that the job loss would adversely affect their groups more than others.

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, stated that although the nations would emerge from the ongoing health crisis, “five years of progress towards the eradication of working poverty have been undone” nonetheless.

“We’ve gone backwards, we’ve gone backwards big time. Working poverty is back to 2015 levels; that means that when the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda was set, we’re back to the starting line,” Ryder said

ILO in its’ World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021′, (WESO Trends), yesterday, noted that the worst-affected regions in the first half of 2021 had been Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, all victims of uneven recovery.

“They’ve seen estimated working-hour losses exceed eight per cent in the first quarter and six per cent in the second quarter, far higher than the global average,” the report said.

“Women have been hit “disproportionately” by the crisis, seeing a five per cent employment fall in 2020, compared to 3.9 per cent for men. A greater proportion of women also fell out of the labour market, becoming inactive,” ILO said, noting that additional domestic responsibilities had resulted from lockdowns, which risked a “re-traditionalisation” of gender roles.”

It stated that youth employment has also continued to suffer the economic downturn, falling 8.7 per cent in 2020, compared with 3.7 per cent for adults.

The most pronounced fall has been in middle-income countries where the consequences of this delay and disruption to the early labour market experience of young people “could last for years,” ILO warned.

Pandemic-related disruption has also brought catastrophic consequences for the world’s two billion informal sector workers. Compared to 2019, an additional 108 million workers worldwide are now categorised as poor or extremely poor – meaning that they and their families live on the equivalent of less than 3.20 dollar per person, per day.

According to ILO, global unemployment would reach 205 million people in 2022, up from 187 million in 2019.

The Geneva-based organisation also projected a “jobs gap” increase of 75 million in 2021, which was likely to fall to 23 million in 2022 – if the pandemic subsides.

“The related drop in working hours which takes into account the jobs gap and those working fewer hours amounts to the equivalent of 100 million full-time jobs in 2021 and 26 million in 2022.

“This shortfall in employment and working hours comes on top of persistently high pre-crisis levels of unemployment, labour underutilisation and poor working conditions,” ILO stated.

The ILO report maintained that although global employment recovery should accelerate in the second half of 2021, it would, however, likely be an uneven recovery.

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