It’s not that these people are gone — or do not want to take jobs. Due to the energy and food crises, many companies have closed down. Employment has changed from full-time to part-time, many workers have switched to freelance. As a result, the number of hours worked in the 3rd quarter of this year by people around the world decreased by 1.5% compared to the same period before the pandemic. That 1.5% is about 1.6 billion work hours, or 40 million full-time, 40-hour-week jobs.
This reduction in working hours, coupled with rising prices and inflation, markedly lowers the real wages of workers around the world. Unfortunately, not a single region of the world had time to fully recover from the pandemic, when new crises began — the war in Ukraine, the cessation of energy supplies from Russia, problems with the export of Ukrainian grain.
Employment after covid began to recover. But many people could only get a job with a gray or even black salary before new problems arose. Such jobs, of course, do not provide workers with sufficient social guarantees.
The UN officially states that the labor market will continue to slow down in the near future. «Missing» workers will amount to much more than just 40 million. The number of jobs will grow slowly or even fall. This effect will become noticeable at the end of this year. The quality of the available jobs will also leave much to be desired. To prevent the consequences from becoming catastrophic, coordinated national and international efforts will be needed.
The International Labor Organization calls for deepening the social dialogue. New intricate measures are needed to help with employment, poverty and business problems. Merely responding to inflation will only exacerbate the crisis. And it will hurt labor markets in both developed and developing countries.