The global labor market is at risk of a reversal on the path to recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels as lockdowns in China and war in Ukraine take a toll on the economy, according to a report from the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The UN agency estimated that there were 112 million fewer full-time jobs in the first quarter of 2022 compared to pre-COVID levels, and there was a growing but uncertain risk that hours worked would continue to decline throughout 2022.
China accounted for 86% of the drop in working hours due to measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to the report, and disruptions to the global supply chain exacerbated by the war in Ukraine threaten to lead to further declines.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told reporters that the numbers probably do not reflect the effects of the war in Ukraine.
The ILO, which has said the outlook is growing dim, now projects 123 million fewer full-time jobs in the second quarter compared to pre-COVID levels.
The ILO said that rising inflation, driven mainly by energy prices and supply chain problems, also poses a risk of a slowdown in economic and job recovery if workers' incomes do not rise.
The overall risk of a wage-price spiral in the near term is low, the UN agency added, noting that real wages grew at a slower pace in 2021 than before the pandemic.