The COVID-19 pandemic could destroy as many as 14 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
As expected, the worst-hit sectors are hospitality and restaurant services. The UN agency says even manufacturing and retail industries could lay off millions of staff as a result of the stringent social distancing measures.
Unfortunately, for Latin America, sectors that generate a large number of jobs are the primary victims of the pandemic.
More than 50% of all workers are employed in the sectors most impacted by the crisis. And the industries that have been hit hard, such as tourism, are also the major employers of womenfolk.
“We are facing massive destruction of jobs, and this poses a challenge of unprecedented magnitude in the labor markets of Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Vinícius Pinheiro, ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We already know that at the same time that the health emergency is overcome, we will have to face a true reconstruction of our labor markets.”
Considering the report, the Caribbean countries heavily dependent on tourism will take a longer time to recover, and the impact of job loss will be far severe in the informal sector, as it does not provide any social security to its staff. More than 50% of jobs in the region are informal.
“The countries of the region are going to need ambitious measures to preserve jobs, promote businesses, and protect incomes from getting out of this intensive care situation,” Pinheiro added.
The agency has urged governments to discuss with industry leaders to help protect as many jobs as it can, describing the pandemic as the worst crisis since the Second World War.