Working hours in the ASEAN region are projected to only partially recover in 2021 and 2022 according to a report published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
‘COVID-19 and the ASEAN labour market: Impact and policy response’ highlights the heavy impact of the pandemic on ASEAN economies and gives an overview of possible recovery scenarios.
In none of the scenarios, taking into consideration mobility restrictions, progress on vaccinations and the pace of economy recovery, are working hours projected to fully recover by 2022.
In 2021, ASEAN is expected to see losses in working hours of 7.4 per cent in the baseline scenario and seven per cent and 7.9 per cent in the optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, respectively, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The region recorded working-hour losses of 6.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 and 6.2 per cent in the second quarter. In the second half of the current year, labour market conditions are likely to deteriorate further due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “The crisis has laid bare vulnerabilities of the economies and labour markets in the region. With the situation likely to persist for some time, the urgency grows for ASEAN countries to accelerate the policies and programmes that will boost the resilience of enterprises, workers and households and set stronger foundations for decent work for all,” said Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, ILO’s assistant director-general and regional director for Asia and the Pacific.