OECD: 10 years of employment progress erased by COVID-19
Edna Mohamed

The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out more than '10 years' of employment progress and set back work on poverty by '20 years,' according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) secretary-general, Angel Gurria.

Gurria told CGTN Europe that due to a combination of health, economic and social crises, the effects of thepandemic have now reversed the progress for OECD countries tackling poverty - reinforcing differences between richer and poorer countries. 

He said: "This is unprecedented. This is the worst situation we have faced in mankind in over 100 years."



He added: "In terms of jobs, it has set us back. All the progress that we have made since the financial crisis of 2008-09, so it has taken more than 10 years of progress.

"In terms of poverty, it has set us back maybe 20 years. Because it is still producing today a very important number of people who are affected."

But, while poverty data are normally gathered from household surveys, which the pandemic made harder to conduct, economists have looked to financial growth to produce new estimates for poverty growth. 

A World Bank data blog estimated last year that an "additional 88 million people will live in extreme poverty in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 and that this number could rise to 115 million under the COVID-19 downside scenario, with more severe economic impacts of the pandemic."


Long recovery

Homi Kharas, a senior fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution, also wrote on the effects of the pandemic on global economies and poverty levels, finding that even by 2030, poverty levels could "still be higher than the baseline by 60 million people." 

In terms of economic activity, the OECD projects a global GDP decline of 4.5 percent. The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) global report has also found a total GDP loss in 2020-21 of $12.5 trillion. 

Vulnerable production structures, food, and climate security have also factored in the economic fall in the least developed countries, (LDCs). 

But, while the IMF projects the global economy will bounce back with 5.2 percent growth in 2021, it warns the economic recovery will "likely be long, uneven and uncertain."

After the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the OECD supported austerity measures, but, as the pandemic continues to affect global economies, they are now calling for a limit on tax and a further increase in public spending to help global economies recover. 

Video editor: Terry Wilson

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