Due to the coronavirus pandemic-caused restrictions and lockdown measures, a total of 26 million jobs have been wiped out from Latin American and Caribbean markets, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said Thursday.
New waves of infection and slow-moving vaccination campaigns are now creating uncertain prospects for recovery, the ILO added.
The average employment rate in the region of some 650 million people fell from 57.4% to 51.7% between the outbreak of the pandemic and the end of last year.
The unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean rose year-on-year from 8.3% to 10.6%.
The ILO also noted that due to an unprecedented exit from the workforce in 2020, unemployment figures do not give the full picture.
There could be a significant increase in the unemployment rate in 2021 if millions of people who left the workforce seek to rejoin it, ILO expert Roxana Maurizio said.
The Americas, especially South America, are currently experiencing worryingly high numbers of coronavirus infections, according to Carissa Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
More than half of the pandemic deaths reported worldwide last week occurred in the Americas, she said Wednesday.
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