4.8 mn jobs lost in Ukraine since start of conflict: ILO

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An estimated 4.8 million jobs have been lost in Ukraine since the start of the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, according to a new brief published by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The brief titled “The impact of the Ukraine crisis on the world of work: Initial assessments” estimates that if hostilities were to escalate employment losses would increase to seven million. However, if the fighting was to cease immediately a rapid recovery would be possible, with the return of 3.4 million jobs, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the ILO brief, Ukraine’s economy has been severely affected. Since the beginning of the military conflict on February 24, more than 5.23 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries. The refugees comprise mainly women, children and persons over the age of 60. Of the total refugee population, approximately 2.75 million are of working age.

The study estimates that the crisis in Ukraine may also create labor disruption in neighboring countries, mainly in Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. If the military conflict continues, Ukrainian refugees would be forced to remain in exile longer, putting further pressure on the labor market and social protection systems in these states and increasing unemployment in many of them.

The significant economic and employment disruptions affecting Russia are having significant ripple effects in central Asia, especially in countries whose economies depend on remittances from the Russian Federation, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the ILO brief said.

If the hostilities and the sanctions against Russia lead to job losses for migrant workers in Russia and these migrant workers return to their countries of origin, there will be severe economic losses in central Asia as a whole, the brief said.

The military conflict between Russia and Ukraine has also shocked the global economy, further complicating recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. This is likely to affect growth in employment and real wages, and put additional pressure on social protection systems.

The brief estimated that the fallout from the Ukraine crisis may worsen labor market conditions and reverse some of the gains made in many high-income countries, which have recently witnessed signs of a stronger labour market recovery.

The situation is particularly hard in low and middle-income countries, many of which have been unable to fully recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, it said.

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