COVID-19: Public employment services and labour market policy responses
The global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted economies and labour markets in all world regions. Among the most vulnerable are the 1.6 billion informal economy workers, representing half of the global workforce, who are working in sectors experiencing major job losses or have seen their incomes seriously affected by lockdowns. The COVID‑19 crisis is disproportionately affecting 1.25 billion workers in at-risk jobs, particularly in the hardest-hit sectors such as retail trade, accommodation and food services, and manufacturing. Since the pandemic hit, national Public Employment Services (PES) have been working to mitigate the impact on the labour market. Measures such as unemployment benefits, often combined with other cash transfers and enterprise support schemes, have played a central role in preserving jobs and skills, supporting employment in essential services and production, and protecting disadvantaged workers, particularly in the informal economy.