Coronavirus Is ‘Worst Global Crisis Since WWII,’ Will Cost the Equivalent of 195 Million Jobs

The International Labour Organization predicts that 6.7% of working hours globally will be wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is equivalent to 195 million full-time jobs.

Already, the ILO says more than four in five people (81%) in the global workforce are currently impacted by full or partial workplace closures. The ILO has identified retail and manufacturing as high-risk industries amid the current crisis, along with administrative services and accommodations such as food and beverage. The organization says this is the “worst global crisis since the Second World War.”

“Workers and businesses are facing catastrophe, in both developed and developing economies,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a press release. “If one country fails, then we all fail.”

According to the ILO, 1.25 billion workers, or about 38% of the world’s workforce, are employed in high-risk sectors that are likely to sustain “drastic and devastating” measures, such as layoffs, cuts to hours and pay decreases. Regionally, the proportion of workers employed in these sectors is the highest in the Americas at 43%.

Amidst the coronavirus crisis, the U.S. has seen a record-breaking number of jobless claims filed in recent weeks — with roughly 10 million claims filed during a two-week period.

In the U.S., many fashion and footwear retailers have temporarily shuttered their fleets, in many cases providing no reopening date. A growing number of industry players that paid their employees for an initial two-week closure period — including Nordstrom, Steve Madden, Macy’s and Ross Stores — have since announced some combination of furloughs, layoffs and pay cuts for executives and other manager-level staff.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected nearly 1.28 million people, with more than 72,600 dead, according to figures the World Health Organization released on Tuesday.

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