Business & Economy

Unemployment to soar this year, worst in Latin America, OECD warns

Paris, Jul 7 (efe-epa).- Unemployment levels will be higher by the end of 2020 than in the 2008 financial crash, with Latin America set to be the worst, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned on Tuesday.

The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic will see an average drop in employment of four percent this year in the OECD’s 37 member countries, the organization said in a global report.

If there is a second wave of Covid-19 infections then this figure will increase to almost five percent, it warned.

OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría said at a press conference in Paris presenting the report that it “paints a rather grim picture of what the Covid-19 pandemic has done to our labor markets”.

The epidemic in “both health and economic terms has been and continues to be dramatic”, he added.

He warned that the pandemic has “wiped out the progress made in the last decade after the financial crisis”.

Colombia will be the worst-affected country economically with a decrease of 10 to 12 percent and the rest of Latin America is expected to be hard hit, according to the OECD.

The next worst-affected countries will be the United States, which will see a contraction of between eight and almost 10 percent, Ireland with six to eight percent, Portugal with almost six to seven percent and Spain with five to six percent.

“These numbers do not convey the massive hardship from mass unemployment on this scale”, Gurría continued.

He said the bleak economic outlook “underlines the need to find the balance between supporting firms and supporting people in need and on the other hand making sure this support is directed towards activities that are viable in the medium-term”.

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