Nearly 5M jobs lost in Ukraine since start of Russian aggression, says ILO

World labor group says war may disrupt work in Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, as well as in Central Asian states linked with Russia

Peter Kenny   | 11.05.2022
Nearly 5M jobs lost in Ukraine since start of Russian aggression, says ILO


The war in Ukraine has led to the loss of 5 million jobs and may create labor disruption in neighboring countries – mainly Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia – if hostilities continue, the International Labour Organization said Wednesday.

An estimated 4.8 million jobs have been lost in Ukraine since the start of the Russian aggression, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that has data on countries with economies linked to Russia.

"The war has caused the fastest force population movements since the Second World War," Heinz Koller, ILO regional director for Europe and Central Asia, told a press conference in Geneva.

"Some tentative estimates suggest that up to 50% of enterprises (in Ukraine) are unable to operate or are forced to reduce their production capacity significantly."

The ILO report said that amid the humanitarian crisis sparked by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, labor markets are being disrupted both in the country and in neighboring states.

According to the ILO report, the Russia-Ukraine war may also create labor disruption in neighboring countries, mainly Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

The ILO also warned that if the hostilities continue, Ukrainian refugees would be forced to remain in exile longer, putting further pressure on the labor market and social protection systems in these neighboring states and increasing unemployment.

Central Asia affected

"Countries in Central Asia are likely to suffer a considerable impact on their labor markets," said Koller.

"Because of their strong trade, financial, and migration links with Russia, remittances flows from migrant workers in Russia are an important source for many economies in Central Asia."

Koller said job losses and working hour reductions in Russia could force migrant workers to return, causing significant decreases in remittances and additional pressure on their home country's labor markets.

That will happen mainly in countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

These four states are among the top 10 countries of origin for migrants in Russia, and many of these migrants send a significant share of remittances back to their home countries.

If the hostilities and sanctions against Russia lead to job losses for migrant workers in Russia and the migrant workers return to their countries of origin, there will be severe economic losses in Central Asia, said the ILO.

"The aggression in Ukraine has also created a shock for the global economy, further complicating the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis," said the ILO.

"This is likely to affect growth in employment and real wages and put additional pressure on social protection systems."

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