The Covid-19 pandemic that hit the world hard has resulted in about 81 million jobs losses from the Asia-Pacific labour markets while women and young people are disproportionately hit, said a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
According to the report, labour income was estimated to have fallen by 10 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region in the first three quarters of 2020, equivalent to a three per cent loss in Gross Domestic Product.
Further overall working hours in Asia and the Pacific decreased by an estimated 15.2 per cent in the second quarter and by 10.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, relative to pre-crisis levels.
The report on Asia–Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2020 (APESO 2020) further added that according to preliminary estimates, an additional 22 million to 25 million persons could fall into working poverty, which would push the total number of working poor (living on less than US$1.90 a day) in the Asia-Pacific region to between 94 million and 98 million in 2020.
The regional unemployment rate is estimated to increase from 4.4 per cent in 2019 to somewhere between 5.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent in 2020. The working-hour losses remain influenced by the millions of people moving outside the labour force or into unemployment as job creation in the region collapsed.
ILO assistant director-general and regional director for Asia and the Pacific, Chihoko Asada Miyakawa, reportedly observed that Covid-19 had inflicted a hammer-blow on the region’s labour markets, one that few governments in the region stood ready to handle.
“Low levels of social security coverage and limited institutional capacity in many countries have made it difficult to help enterprises and workers back on their feet, a situation compounded when large numbers remain in the informal economy,” she said.
The report said most countries in the region saw a larger decline in working hours and employment for women than men.