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International Labour Organisation Projects Caribbean To Lose Over One Million Full-Time Jobs, Due To COVID-19

KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 14, 2020 (CMC) – The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says that over one million full-time jobs will be lost, across the Caribbean, during the second quarter of this year, due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to the ILO, based on its latest research data, 9.9 percent of working hours – the equivalent to 1.5 million full-time jobs — will be lost. 

The ILO stated, this employment outlook for the region presents, in line with the global pattern, a major drop in the second quarter of 2020, from the last quarter of the previous year.

By comparison, during the first quarter, the hour-loss was estimated at 1.7 percent or 250,000 in full-time equivalent jobs.

The organisation said these latest estimates include only – due to data limitations – The Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States Virgin Islands.

The ILO said the new research focuses on the decline in hours worked, and is estimated via a “now-casting” model.

The data are not based on more common — but less precise, in the current context — labour market indicators, such as the unemployment rate. While the full time equivalent employment losses are presented to illustrate the severity of the estimates of hours lost, the figures should not be interpreted as numbers of jobs actually lost, nor increases in unemployment.

“Such figures show that the impact on workers is vast, and calls for attention to both those who lost their jobs and income, and those who are asked, by employers, to reduce working hours, and thus earn less. Governments need to make sure social protection measures reach these categories of workers.

“This is also an opportunity to use “down time” for building skills for employability. A small investment, which may beget ultimate gains for the workers, employers and economies,” said Claudia Coenjaerts, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean.

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