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Jobs in Asia and the Pacific record modest recovery while future growth prospects remain challenging

Asia-Pacific employment records modest recovery @ ILO

BANGKOK, THAILAND (ILO News) – The Asia-Pacific labor market has registered a partial recovery from the impact of COVID-19, but the difficult situation is expected to continue until 2023, so the full recovery of the region is expected to continue. recovery remains difficult.

according to Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2022: Rethinking Sectoral Strategies for a Human-Centered Future of WorkEmployment numbers in the Asia-Pacific region in 2022 will be 2.0% above pre-crisis levels in 2019, recovering from more than 57 million job losses in 2020, according to the report.

Still, recovery isn’t perfect. The region will still have 22 million jobs shortfall in 2022, a 1.1% employment gap compared to what it would have been without the pandemic. This number is projected to increase to 26 million (1.4%) in 2023 given the headwinds to growth in the current geopolitical global and regional conditions.

At the same time, total hours worked in the region are below 2019 and the region’s unemployment rate in 2022 is 5.2%, up 0.5 percentage points from 2019.

By 2022, all subregions had recovered from 2020 job losses and were showing positive job gains in 2019. However, employment growth has not kept pace with population growth. The Pacific was the only region whose employment-to-population ratio in 2022 exceeded his 2019.

“Employment trends in the Asia-Pacific region look positive, but the region’s labor market has yet to return to its pre-crisis trajectory and a number of challenges are casting a shadow over future growth prospects. It is vital to bring people-centred growth back to the region and not settle for a ‘quasi’ recovery based on informal, low-quality jobs. ” Asia and the Pacific.

The report assesses for the first time sectoral estimates for the region over a 30-year period from 1991 to 2021, identifying which sectors are growing as sources of employment, which sectors are shrinking, and which sectors are “decent.” “Work” reveals hidden opportunities.

Although IT and information services are the fastest growing sectors in the region in terms of employment growth, only 9.4 million people were working in this sector in 2021, accounting for just 0.5% of total employment. was found to be equivalent to

In contrast, in terms of employment in the Asia-Pacific region, there are three largest sectors: agriculture, forestry and fisheries. manufacturing; in 2021, the wholesale and retail trade combined will account for 1.1 billion workers, or 60% of her 1.9 billion workforce in the region.

Worker-intensive sectors are usually characterized by limited labor productivity, low wages, poor working conditions, and low employment and income stability. While most workers in these sectors lack social protection, there is also a high degree of informality and the gains made in recent decades have all but been wiped out by the pandemic.

Gender inequality is still pervasive except in one of the top 10 highest employment growth sectors benefiting male workers more than female workers. With 55% of added jobs going to women between 1991 and 2021, only accommodation and food service activities bucked the trend.

“Despite half a century of economic growth, the fact remains that most workers in the Asia-Pacific region are employed in sectors where the ‘Asian miracle’ has passed. , but the region’s greatest potential for boosting growth and decent work lies in far less attractive sectors. increasing and sustaining policy attention and public investment to achieve decent work and inclusion in the sector,” said Sarah Elder, ILO Senior Economist and lead author of the report. increase.

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