The disruptive impact of the COVID-19 crisis on workers, labor markets, and livelihoods has further underlined the importance of the jobs agenda.

COVID-19 has caused major disruptions in economies worldwide and specifically hit countries characterized by high levels of informality and fractured, incomplete social protection systems. These effects have so far prevented a full and balanced recovery of labor markets and will also affect a future generation of workers.

Governments have responded quickly to address the immediate jobs challenges of COVID-19, by using (i) liquidity support for firms, (ii) wage subsidies to retain jobs; and (iii) income support for the unemployed and vulnerable households. But they need to continue to address the medium and long-term effects of the pandemic by stimulating job creation, re-employment, and economic inclusion. And they’ll have to do so in a world beset by disruptive technological change and shifting patterns of demand.

There is an urgent need to strengthen health and social protection systems to provide robust universal coverage and reduce their dependence on financing through labor taxes, which creates disincentives to the growth of better jobs.

So, what have governments and international organizations done to support workers and firms to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, preserve jobs and incomes and prepare the way for a rapid recovery?

#31 These types of workers were most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Photo: World Bank Authors: Michael Weber and David Newhouse There is now clear evidence that the devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were distributed unequally among workers in many developed countries.   We recently explored how the crisis has affected different types of workers and find substantial differences. Drawing on phone survey data from about 40 developing…

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#28 Six months after the COVID-19 outbreak: How did workers in four African countries fare?

Photo: World Bank Authors: Ivette Maria Contreras-González, Gbemisola Oseni, Amparo Palacios-Lopez, Janneke Pieters and Michael Weber Labor markets continue to be a key transmission channel of the economic impact of COVID-19. As a result, tracking the trends in labor markets is paramount to gaining a better understanding of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Proper…

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#24 Developing countries introduced an unprecedented social protection and jobs policy response to mitigate the effects of the pandemic

Photo credit: Paul Salazar / World Bank   Authors: Michael Weber and David Newhouse  Unlike the global financial crisis, both voluntary and mandated restrictions on mobility have directly affected labor markets. The scale of labor market disruption in developing countries has been massive. In its latest update, the ILO estimated a loss of 255 million…

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covid refugees

#23 How digital solutions can ease the COVID-19 impact on displaced populations

Photo:  Li Wenyong / World Bank   Authors: Jana Kuhnt and Kirsten Schuettler Displaced people face many challenges when integrating into the labor market in their host communities. They are also more likely than the host population to be employed in sectors that are highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as manufacturing, accommodation, and food services. And  …

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