18/05/2024 7:02 PM


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Americas will be hardest hit by COVID-19 job losses :ILO

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Americas will bear the brunt of an estimated 305 million job losses that the COVID-19 pandemic will cause worldwide between April and June, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: People who lost their jobs are reflected in the door of an Arkansas Workforce Center as they wait in line to file for unemployment following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Fort Smith, Arkansas, U.S. April 6, 2020. REUTERS/Nick Oxford -/File Photo/File Photo

The outbreak also risks creating a “lockdown generation” of young people forced to play catch-up on the labour market for at least 10 years, the Geneva-based body said.

Its report left its estimate for second quarter job losses – calculated in terms of working hours compared to a pre-pandemic baseline – unchanged from a month ago.

The Americas, meanwhile, had jumped from being the least affected region in labour market terms in the first quarter to being the most affected, with an expected 13.1 percent drop in working hours in the second, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, told a briefing.

That was due to it having become the outbreak’s new epicentre.

Ryder said he was “extremely concerned” about young people who are being affected disproportionately by the crisis, saying this might lead to a “lockdown generation”.

“Young people are simply going to be left behind, and in big numbers,” he said.

“…The danger is, that this initial shock to young people will last a decade or longer. It will affect the (employment) trajectory … throughout their working lives.”

More than one in six working people aged up 24 had lost their jobs since the start of the outbreak, the ILO said.

The organisation also highlighted particular problems in the United States and Brazil.

It was “worrisome” that the U.S. labour market remained “difficult” while other countries easing lockdowns had started to see modest recoveries, said the director of its Employment Policy Department, Sangheon Lee.

In Brazil, there was “good reason to be concerned both about the trajectory of the pandemic and the capacity to put in place the right sort of (workplace) measures to react to it,” Ryder said.

The ILO hiked its estimate of first quarter job losses by 7 million to 135 million.

Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by John Stonestreet

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