1.6 billion working people witnessed drop in their incomes due to COVID-19 pandemic

Women working in tourism, retail and food sectors hit the hardest by pandemic says Gallup US survey

The Gallup US survey has revealed that every second working person on the earth has lost income in last one year due to COVID-19 pandemic.  People in low-income countries remained the hardest hit by job losses and cuts to working hours.

US-based polling company Gallup surveyed 300,000 people in 117 countries and found that half the people who were employed now earn less than they earlier did owing to the pandemic. This implies that 1.6 billion working adults across the world witnessed dips in their income.

“Worldwide, these percentages ranged from a high of 76% in Thailand to a low of 10% in Switzerland,” researchers announced in a statement.

Massive income drops were reported in Bolivia, Kenya, Myanmar, Indonesia, Uganda, Honduras and Ecuador where over 70 per cent people claimed that they were now taking home less income than before the pandemic. In the United States, the number stood at 34 per cent.

Women were among the worst hit due to the pandemic, which are generally overrepresented in low paying sectors like food, tourism and retail. A study done by Oxfam, the international charity group said that the pandemic cost women $800 billion in income losses around the world.

In 57 countries including Zimbabwe, the Philippines, India, Kenya, El Salvador, Bangladesh, over 65%  people said that they were forced to stop working at one point during the pandemic. The Gallup poll found that over 50% of people had to temporarily stop working. This figure amounts for over 1.7 billion adults worldwide.

Countries that reported the least change among people who were already working were mostly developed high-income nations like Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Less than one out of 10 people in these countries said that they had to temporarily stop working due to the pandemic. In the US, 39 per cent people had to stop working due to the pandemic.

According to the poll, one in three people across the world lost their job due to the pandemic implying over one billion people globally were left unemployed due to the pandemic.

But this figure varies from country to country. Lower income countries like the Philippines, Kenya and Zimbabwe reported that 60% people their jobs while 13 per cent people in the United States reported the same. In Switzerland, the number remained as low as 3 per cent.

                                                               Khalid Bhatti 

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