One in two people globally lost income due to the pandemic - Gallup

Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Posted at May 03 2021 01:25 PM

One in two people globally lost income due to the pandemic - Gallup 1
Vendors wait for customers in an alley of souvenir shops at a tourist market, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Luxor, Egypt April 9, 2021. Picture taken April 9, 2021. Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

NAIROBI - One in two people worldwide saw their earnings drop due to the coronavirus, with people in low-income countries particularly hard hit by job losses or cuts to their working hours, research showed on Monday.

US-based polling company Gallup, which surveyed 300,000 people across 117 countries, found that half of those with jobs earned less because of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions. This translated to 1.6 billion adults globally, it said.

"Worldwide, these percentages ranged from a high of 76 percent in Thailand to a low of 10 percent in Switzerland," said researchers in a statement.

In Bolivia, Myanmar, Kenya, Uganda, Indonesia, Honduras and Ecuador, more than 70 percent of people polled said they took home less than before global health crisis. In the United States, this figure dropped to 34 percent.

The COVID-19 crisis has hit workers across the world, particularly women, who are over-represented in low-paid precarious sectors such as retail, tourism and food services.

A study by the international charity Oxfam on Thursday said the pandemic had cost women around the world $800 billion in lost income.

The Gallup poll found that more than half of those surveyed said they temporarily stopped working at their job or business - translating to about 1.7 billion adults globally.

In 57 countries including India, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Kenya, Bangladesh, El Salvador, more than 65 percent of respondents said they stopped working for a time.

Countries where people were least likely to say they stopped working, were predominantly developed, high-income countries.

Fewer than one in 10 of those who had jobs in Austria, Switzerland and Germany said they had stopped working temporarily. In the US, the figure was 39 percent, research showed.

The poll also showed that one in three people surveyed lost their job or business due to the pandemic - translating into just over one billion people globally.

These figures also varied across nations with lower income countries such as the Philippines, Kenya and Zimbabwe showing more than 60 percent of respondents lost their jobs or businesses, compared to 3 percent in Switzerland and 13 percent in the United States.


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