UN labor agency: Ukraine war, other crises take toll on jobs

Oct 31, 2022, 4:13 AM | Updated: 4:19 am

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. labor agency warned Monday that job vacancies and employment growth are expected to decline worldwide in the fourth quarter as the war in Ukraine and “multiple and overlapping crises” have led to shrinking wages, higher debt and yawning inequality.

Gilbert Houngbo, the new director-general of the International Labor Organization, called on governments to intervene to help set prices for goods, redirect “windfall profits” and boost income support and social protections.

“Tackling this deeply worrying global employment situation, and preventing a significant labor market downturn, will require comprehensive, integrated and balanced policies both nationally and globally,” he said in a statement.

Houngbo said a quick end to the war in Ukraine “would further contribute to improving the global employment situation.”

ILO noted a rebound in global hours worked at the beginning of the year, particularly among women and workers in high-skill jobs, as the world economy recovered from punishment during the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency, which released the 10th edition of its monitoring report on the world of work on Monday, says the situation has deteriorated with the number of hours of work dropping by 1.5% — the equivalent to a “deficit” of some 40 million full-time jobs.

“The outlook for the labor market is currently highly uncertain, with growing downside risks, including the impacts of high inflation, tightening monetary policy, increasing debt burdens and declining consumer confidence,” the report said.

“While it normally takes time for an economic slowdown or a recession to result in job destruction and unemployment, available data suggests that a sharp labor market slowdown is already underway,” it added.

ILO estimates that more than 10% of Ukraine’s pre-war workforce – mostly women — are now in neighboring countries as refugees.

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UN labor agency: Ukraine war, other crises take toll on jobs