As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic spreads relentlessly across the globe, the spillover could be enormous, especially in Low Income Countries (LICs) with rudimentary public health networks, fragile economies and incomplete social protection systems.

With the pandemic now starting to gather momentum in Africa, repercussions from the unprecedented downturn in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) economies are already impacting jobs in the global south. Huge negative capital flows have rocked emerging economies. Attempted lockdowns have generated major disruptions in economies characterized by high levels of informality and by fractured, incomplete social protection systems. In such settings, measures intended to “flatten the curve” of viral transmission might have generated increased transmissions, as thousands of informal migrant workers have crowded together trying return home. And where such internal migrants play key roles in economic life, the disruption of labor supplies is affecting harvests and food production.

In the absence of adequate public policy responses, there is no guarantee that these effects will be limited to a transitory, “V shaped” downturn. The world economy could be facing a deep, “U” shaped recession, or even an “L – shaped” recession, with no obvious end point, like the great depression of the 1930s.

So, what can governments and international organizations do right away 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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