Mitigate job losses

Fijian businesses, especially tourism-focused ones, cancelled planned expansions (percent of survey respondents). Picture: IFC (2020), Fiji COVID-19 BUSINESS SURVEY, JULY

While jobs in the tourism related industries are at high risk, essential work has been relatively insulated from the pandemic, says a new report released by the World Bank.

The report Pacific Island Countries in the era of COVID 19: Macroeconomic impacts and job prospects, states that according to the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association, the COVID-19 outbreak has led to the closure of 279 hotels and resorts and left 25,000 workers without employment.

It continued to say that job losses in the tourism-related transportation sector were evidenced by applications for Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) unemployment benefits by members of the taxi industry, and job losses within the aviation workforce (Fiji’s national carrier cut employment by half as of May).

However on the other hand, it said since essential work had been insulated from the pandemic and could help to mitigate job losses and reduce long-term damage to livelihoods through cross-sector reallocation of labour.

Quoting from a recent International Labour Organistion (ILO), it said the report used global data, identified the following sectors as having low risk of job loss: healthcare and social work, education, public administration, defense; compulsory social security; and utility.

It said agriculture, fishing and forestry were categorised as having low to medium risk.

It stated that although the lack of sectoral diversification in PICs limited cross-sector absorption capacity, there were some possibilities, particularly in larger countries, such as Fiji, with more developed labour markets.

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