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How coronavirus has hit employment in G7 economies

  • Hundreds of millions of people could be left without work due to the impact of COVID-19, the UN’s work agency warns.
  • Current G7 jobless totals vary widely, from 30 million in the United States to 1.76 million in Japan.
  • Several European governments have softened rise in unemployment with generous wages subsidies.

Since the pandemic hit, claims for unemployment benefits have soared in some countries – notably the US – and by far less in others, for example, Japan.

The global outlook is not positive –– the UN’s International Labour Organization predicts 1.6 billion informal economy workers could suffer “massive damage” to their livelihoods. In the second quarter of 2020, COVID-19 may cost the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs.

The advanced economies of the G7 provide snapshots of evolving unemployment trends in the developed world.

Jobless claims have fallen in the US after an initial surge.

Image: Business Insider / Employment and Training Administration

In the week to 25 April, 3.8 million Americans made an unemployment claim – giving a six-week total of around 30 million. It was, however, the fourth consecutive week of falls in numbers of new claims.

Payroll processor ADP says the US private sector shed more than 20 million jobs in April. The big question is how long those jobs will take to come back.

The US Congressional Budget Office predicts 15% of people could be unemployed by the third quarter of this year – up from less than 4% in the first quarter.

The unemployment rate in Canada in April was 13%, up 5.2 percentage points on March, according to data from the country’s official statistics bureau.

So far in the COVID-19 crisis, more than 7.2 million people have applied for emergency unemployment assistance.

Most of the world’s workers live in countries where workplaces have temporarily closed.

Image: ILO

Japan’s unemployment…

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