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?

The impact on labour markets

2020 at a glance

1 %

Decline in working hours

These working-hour losses (relative to the fourth quarter of 2019) are equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs and approximately four times greater than during the global financial crisis in 2009.

1 %

decline in labour income

The decline in global labour income (before taking into account income support measures) amounts to US$3.7 trillion, or 4.4 per cent of global gross domestic product.

1  million

increase in persons outside the labour force

Employment losses in 2020 translated mainly into rising inactivity rather than unemployment. Accounting for 71 per cent of global employment losses, inactivity increased by 81 million, which resulted in a reduction of the global labour force participation rate by 2.2 percentage points in 2020 to 58.4 per cent. 

Table of contents

Data

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

Featured publication

Building Forward Fairer: Women’s rights to work and at work at the core of the COVID-19 recovery

Building Forward Fairer: Women’s rights to work and at work at the core of the COVID-19 recovery

This policy brief provides an outlook of where women stand in the labour market after more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.


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

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Use filters above the table

Use the search feature to enter key words. On the data page, you can also filter the database and select a frequency to find monthly, quarterly, or annual indicators. While all indicators are available for annual periods, only a subset are available as monthly or quarterly. 

Options to access data

Data available in the Excel summary files are for indicators only (not available for countries or regions) for selected classification items for 2010 onward for annual data and 2018 onward for short-term indicators. For historical data or additional classifications, either use the Data Explorer or download the CSV file. 

Download a zipped CSV file (gzip) to get data in bulk. These files contain only codes. Download the dictionary with labels here

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