COVID-19 and labour statistics

The coronavirus pandemic has a large impact on our lives and our societies — but what is the impact and consequences for labour markets and the collection of labour statistics?

Table of contents

Labour market impacts

At a glance

More than two years after the start of the pandemic, many in the world of work are still suffering from the impact on labour markets.

  • Labour incomes have not yet recovered for the majority of workers. In 2021, three in five workers lived in countries where labour incomes had not returned to the level seen in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • The gender gap in hours worked also grew during the pandemic. In the first quarter of 2022, the global gender gap in hours worked was 0.7 percentage points greater than the pre-crisis benchmark (fourth quarter of 2019) when a large gender gap was already present. Women in informal employment have been worst affected. 
  • The sharp rise in job vacancies in advanced economies at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 has led to a tightening of labour markets with a growing number of jobs available relative to job seekers. But overall, there is no strong evidence that labour markets are generally overheated, given the considerable pool of unemployed and underutilized labour in many countries.
  • Driven by disruptions in production and trade exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis, the increase in food and commodity prices is badly hurting poor households and small businesses, especially those in the informal economy.


For more indicators, see our short-term labour force statistics (STLFS) on the data page

For previous versions of the data, see the table below. These are for reference only and not comparable with the data series provided above.

Featured publication

Social Dialogue Report 2022

Social Dialogue Report 2022: Collective bargaining for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery

The report examines the role of collective bargaining in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on employment and earnings, helping to cushion inequality while reinforcing the resilience of enterprises and labour markets. The tailoring of public health measures and strengthening of occupational safety and health at the workplace, together with the paid sick leave and healthcare benefits provided for in many collective agreements, protected workers and supported the continuity of economic activity.

Data collection

The COVID-19 pandemic created many of practical and conceptual challenges, as well as a major demand for enhanced data to describe the impact on labour markets and the world of work. The ILO has produced a range of information and guides to describe the impacts COVID-19 has had on data collection, and support countries to continue to produce relevant data.

How COVID-19 is changing the world: a statistical perspective


For data producers

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