ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Third edition


The International Labour Organization released ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work (Third edition) on April 29, 2020.

The first and second editions of this report were released on March 18 and April 7, 2020. This third edition contains updated estimates and an analysis on the effects of the Covid-19 induced lockdown – implemented in many countries to stem the spread of the virus – on the ‘world of work’.

It covers such themes as workplace and business closures, losses in working hours in the first half of 2020, enterprises at risk due to the impact of Covid-19, and workers and enterprises in the informal economy. It also contains policy recommendations for governments that are aimed at protecting enterprises and employment.

The report uses data from ILOSTAT (the ILO’s Department of Statistics), ILO-modelled estimates from November 2019, and the Coronavirus Government Response Tracker, developed by the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.


  1. As of April 22, 2020, 81 per cent of all employers and 66 per cent of all ‘own-account workers’ across the world live and work in countries affected by recommended or required workplace closures due to the Covid-19 crisis. The report defines ‘own-account workers’ as person working on their own account or with one or more partners, who hold ‘self-employment jobs’ (where the remuneration is directly dependent upon the profits derived from the goods and services produced) and have not engaged on a continuous basis any employees to work for them.

  2. The report notes that the crisis has caused unprecedented reductions in economic activity and working time. Global working hours declined by an estimated 4.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 – equivalent to approximately 130 million full-time jobs, assuming a 48-hour working week – as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, that is, the pre-crisis period.

  3. As of April 22, 2020, close to 1.1 billion informal economy workers live and work in countries in full lockdown, and 304 million live and work in countries in partial lockdown – together, they represent 67 per cent of all informal economy workers across the world.

  4. Nearly 68 per cent of the world’s total workforce (over 2 billion people) – including 81 per cent of employers and 66 per cent of own-account workers – are currently living in countries with recommended or required workplace closures.

  5. Nearly 1.6 billion informal economy workers – or 76 per cent of informal employment worldwide – are significantly impacted by lockdown measures or are working in ‘high-risk’ and ‘hardest-hit sectors’ – including accommodation and food services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate and other ‘business activities’.

  6. Roughly 47 million employers, representing nearly 54 per cent of all employers worldwide, operate businesses in these hardest-hit sectors.  An additional 389 million own-account workers are engaged in these sectors.

  7. A total of approximately 36 million enterprises worldwide, including employers and own-account workers, are operating and working in the hardest-hit sectors.

  8. Among informal economy workers, women are over-represented in the ‘high-risk’ sectors: 42 per cent of women workers work in these sectors, compared to 32 per cent of men.

  9. The report recommends that government support to businesses and jobs must target the ‘most vulnerable’ (such as small enterprises and informal economy workers) in order to mitigate the economic and social consequences of the confinement period.

  10. International coordination on ‘stimulus packages’ is critical to make the global recovery more effective and sustainable.

  11. Income support for workers and enterprises operating in the informal economy, the report states, is critical to prevent them from plunging far deeper into poverty.

  12. Policies must focus on providing income support for businesses and workers to maintain economic activities – with special attention to enterprises that are at greater risk of business failure, and the self-employed and workers who are more likely to fall into long-term unemployment or underemployment.

    Focus and Factoids by Oorna Raut.


International Labour Organization


International Labour Organization


29 Apr, 2020