Global Job Market Recovery Delayed By Omicron Variant: ILO Report

The global job market will taker longer to recover than previously expected, with unemployment set to remain above pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in a new report.

The U.N. agency estimates the equivalent of around 52 million fewer jobs in 2022 versus pre-pandemic levels, which amounts to about double its previous forecast made in June 2021.

Disruptions are set to continue into 2023 when there will still be around 27 million fewer jobs, it said, warning of a “slow and uncertain” recovery in its annual “World Employment and Social Outlook” report for 2022.

“The global labour market outlook has deteriorated since the ILO's last projections; a return to pre-pandemic performance is likely to remain elusive for much of the world over the coming years,” reads the report.

The ILO said that there are numerous factors behind its revision, saying the “primary one is the continuing pandemic and its variants, notably Omicron.”

Overall, around 207 million people are estimated to be unemployed in 2022. However, the report said that the impact would be significantly greater since many people have left the labour force and have yet to return.

Still, the projected jobs deficit in working hours this year represents an improvement over the past two years. In 2021, the ILO estimates there were some 125 million fewer jobs than pre-pandemic levels and in 2020, 258 million fewer jobs.