File: The weaker sentiment -- worsened by the COVID- 19 pandemic -- means lower investment and exponential job losses.
GENEVA - The COVID-19 pandemic will significantly increase global unemployment, leaving up to 25 million more people out of work, and will dramatically slash workers' incomes, the United Nations said.
In a fresh study, the International Labour Organization warned that the economic and labour crisis sparked by the spread of the new coronavirus, which has now killed more than 12,000 people worldwide, will have "far-reaching impacts on labour market outcomes".
"This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labour market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people," ILO chief Guy Ryder said in a statement.
The UN agency's study suggested the world should prepare to see a "significant rise in unemployment and underemployment in the wake of the virus."
Presenting different scenarios depending on how quickly and with what level of coordination governments react, it found that even in the best-case scenario, 5.3 million more people will be pushed into unemployment by the crisis.
It warned that "underemployment is also expected to increase on a large scale, as the economic consequences of the virus outbreak translate into reductions in working hours and wages."
The number of people who live in poverty despite holding one or more jobs will also increase significantly, the study said, estimating that between 8.8 and 35 million more people will be added to the ranks of the working poor.
"The strain on incomes resulting from the decline in economic activity will devastate workers close to or below the poverty line," it said.
The ILO called for urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures to protect workers in the workplace, stimulate the economy and employment and support jobs and income, including through social protections, paid leave and other subsidies.