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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused significant destruction and disruption, with millions displaced as refugees, thousands of civilians killed and global implications for the supply of basic necessities such as food and energy.
Now, new data from a United Nations agency measures the extent of the economic disruption within and beyond Ukraine’s borders.
An estimated 4.8 million jobs have been lost in Ukraine since the start of the war, according to a note released Wednesday by the International Labor Organization (ILO). And this number could increase or decrease according to the evolution of the conflict.
“The study estimates that if hostilities were to escalate, job losses would increase to seven million,” says the ILO. “However, should the fighting cease immediately, a rapid recovery would be possible, with the return of 3.4 million jobs.”
Some 2.75 million of the more than 5 million refugees who have fled to neighboring countries since February are of working age, says the ILO. Of these, 43.5% left or lost their previous job.
The ILO says the refugee crisis in Ukraine is also creating work disruptions in neighboring countries Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
“If hostilities continue, Ukrainian refugees would be forced to stay in exile longer, putting additional pressure on the labor market and social protection systems in these neighboring states and increasing unemployment in many of them. “, he explains.
Elsewhere, global sanctions and other economic disruptions affecting Russia are having “significant ripple effects” on Central Asia, according to the ILO.
This is especially true for countries whose economies depend on remittances from expatriates working in Russia, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The agency says Central Asia as a whole will suffer economic losses if these migrant workers return to their countries of origin.
The ILO – which adopted a resolution in March calling for an end to Russian aggression – stresses that the war is impacting markets and labor even outside the region, creating a shock to the global economy and further complicating its pandemic recovery.
Ukraine’s economy has been hit hard by Russian aggression. From the beginning :
➡️ More than 5.23 million refugees have fled
➡️ Nearly 5M jobs have been lost
— International Labor Organization (@ilo) May 11, 2022
So what steps can be taken to mitigate the impact of the war on the Ukrainian labor market?
The ILO recommends four measures, including providing targeted employment support in Ukraine’s “relatively safe” regions and supporting the country’s social protection system to ensure it continues to pay benefits.
This story originally appeared in the morning edition live blog.