A U.N. report Monday said four times as many jobs were lost last year because of the coronavirus pandemic as during the worst part of the 2009 global financial crisis.
The International Labor Organization estimates that restrictions on business and social life wiped out 8.8 percent of all work hours worldwide last year. That’s the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs, four times the impact of the financial crisis more than 10 years ago.
“This has been the most serious crisis for the world of work since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its impact is far greater than that of the 2009 global financial crisis,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. He said the impact was almost equally divided between reduced working hours and “unprecedented” job losses.
The U.N. agency noted that most people who lost their jobs stopped looking for them altogether, probably because of restrictions on businesses that employ large numbers of people, such as restaurants, bars, stores, hotels and other services that depend on personal interaction.
Job losses result in $3.7 trillion in lost income worldwide, a figure Ryder called “extraordinary.” Women and young people are hit hardest by job losses.