Four Times More Jobs Were Lost in 2020 Than During the 2009 Financial Crisis

Alex Montrose
·2 min read

Image via Getty

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to devastate communities across the globe. Unemployment rates are up, thousands are facing pending evictions, and people are hungry.

But to put a rubber stamp on this living hell, a new report from the U.N. confirms that we’re in the middle of the worst employment crisis since the Great Depression. According to the Associated Press, four times as many jobs were lost in 2020 than those lost in the midst of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

The International Labor Organization estimated that the spread of COVID-19, and subsequent government shutdowns and business closures, resulted in an 8.8 percent decrease in work hours worldwide. That amount could translate to 255 million full-time jobs.

“This has been the most severe crisis for the world of work since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its impact is far greater than that of the global financial crisis of 2009,” Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labor Organization, said.

The agency cited ongoing restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other service industries as a reason for the continuing unemployment. Of course, people’s health is more important than the economy, and increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths globally are pushing governments to mitigate the spread through new restrictive policies.

The ILO doesn’t think the global economy will be in the gutter forever, expecting a “bounce back” in the second half of 2021 if enough people are able to get vaccinated. In the meantime, hopefully Biden will send us those checks and leaders across the world will use their resources to support those most impacted and made vulnerable by the pandemic.

The Biden administration plans to achieve 100 million vaccinations by his first 100 days in office. His new CDC director recently revealed that vaccines won’t be available to the general public until later in the spring.

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