Since the beginning of the war on February 24, Ukraine has lost 4.8 million jobsaccording to figures released this Wednesday by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In a report on the impact of the crisis in the world of work, the specialized agency warns that if hostilities escalate, the losses could increase to seven million. Instead, if the fighting were to end, there could be a quick recovery of 3.4 million jobs.
The ILO estimates that of the 5.2 million Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries, some 2.75 million are of working age and that 1.2 million of them who were employed before the war lost or left their jobs.
The study explains that the damage to infrastructure and the closure of companies have paralyzed economic activity in many areas of the country. Initial data indicates that the 50% of businesses are closedand there would have been losses of between 60 billion and 100 billion dollars due to the damage and destruction of buildings, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and other physical assets in the first month of the conflict.
In addition, the closure in the Black Sea of shipping from Ukraine has interrupted about 90% of cereal exports of the country and half of its total exports. As a result, the Ukrainian GDP could contract this year by up to 45% according to World Bank forecasts.
If the crisis were to spread, the 90% of the population could fall into povertywhich would mean a loss of 18 years of socio-economic gains in Ukraine and a return to 2004 levels of need.
For mitigate the impact of the high level of unemploymentthe Ukrainian government has tried to guarantee benefits using digital technologies.
Implications outside Ukraine
The UN agency warned of the implications that the conflict may have in neighboring countries of Ukraine such as Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakiasince if the refugee stay were prolonged, it would put excessive pressure on labor markets and social protection networks, causing an increase in unemployment.
In addition, he highlighted the effects of economic and employment shocks in Russia on the economies of Central Asian countries that heavily dependent on remittances who come from that country, as is the case with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
If the war worsens and the sanctions against Russia are aggravated, migrant workers will lose their jobs, causing major economic setbacks in Central Asiaindicates the publication.
But the prolongation of the war would not only harm the neighboring regions, but could complicate the already slow recovery of the world economy and labor markets after the COVID-19 pandemic, he stresses.
The ILO has made some recommendations to mitigate the impact of the war on the Ukrainian labor market, including:
- Support the initiatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations so that facilitate the provision of humanitarian support and ensure continuity of workwhen it is possible.
- Provide specific employment support in relatively safe areas of Ukraine, including through the ongoing government-sponsored program to relocate workers and businesses. Local Employment Associations (ALEs), supported by the ILO, can help create employment opportunities.
- Support the social protection system in Ukraine to ensure that it continues to provide benefits, including the newly established cash transfers, to old and new beneficiaries.
- prepare a reconstruction strategy post-conflict policy that promotes the creation of decent and productive jobs through employment-intensive investments.