The International Labour Organisation on Wednesday said that nearly half of the global workforce – around 160 crore people – stands to lose their livelihood due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many countries have shut down factories, schools, restaurants, public services and other avenues for employment due to which economies have taken a severe hit.

In a report titled “ILO Monitor third edition: COVID-19 and the world of work”, the organisation said nearly 160 crore workers in the informal sector, out of a total of 200 crore, could be out of work. The world’s labour force comprises around 330 crore people.

The report said that the drop in working hours in the second quarter of 2020-’21, which means from April to June, is likely to be much higher than anticipated earlier. “Compared to pre-crisis levels [Q4 2019], a 10.5% deterioration is now expected, equivalent to 305 million [30.5 crore] full-time jobs [assuming a 48-hour working week],” the report said. “The previous estimate was for a 6.7% drop, equivalent to 195 million [19.5 crore] full-time workers.”

There will be a 12.4% loss of working hours in the Americas and 11.8% for Europe and Central Asia, the report said. In Asia and the Pacific, the loss will be 10%.

In April, the first month of the second quarter of the year, a decline of 60% in the earnings of workers working in the informal sector is expected, the ILO said. In lower-middle income and low-income countries, the loss of earnings could be a whopping 82%.

However, the report also pointed out that the proportion of workers living in countries with recommended or required workplace closures has decreased from 81% to 68% in the last two weeks, due to the lifting of restrictions in China, where the pandemic broke out last year.

Globally, there have been nearly 32 lakh cases of Covid-19 so far, including 2.27 lakh deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.