Publication: Early Labor Market Impacts of COVID-19 in Developing Countries

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Khamis, Melanie
Prinz, Daniel
Newhouse, David
Palacios-Lopez, Amparo
Pape, Utz
Weber, Michael
The economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic sharply reduced mobility and economic activity, disrupting the lives of people around the globe. This brief presents estimates on the crisis’ impact on labor markets in 39 countries based on high-frequency phone survey (HFPS) data collected between April and July 2020. Workers in these countries experienced severe labor market disruptions following the COVID-19 outbreak. 34 percent of respondents reported stopping work, 20 percent of wage workers reported lack of payment for work performed, 9 percent reported job changes due to the pandemic, and 62 percent reported income loss in their household. Measures of work stoppage and income loss in the HFPS are generally consistent with GDP growth projections in Latin America and the Caribbean but not in Sub-Saharan Africa, indicating that the phone survey data contributes valuable new information about the impacts of the crisis. Ensuring availability of such critical data in the future will require investments into statistical and physical infrastructure as well as human capital to set up Emergency Observatories, which can rapidly deploy phone surveys to inform decision makers.
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Khamis, Melanie; Prinz, Daniel; Newhouse, David; Palacios-Lopez, Amparo; Pape, Utz; Weber, Michael. 2021. Early Labor Market Impacts of COVID-19 in Developing Countries. Jobs Watch COVID-19;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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