One in two people globally lost income due to the Covid-19 pandemic: Gallup

Residents receiving cash assistance from the government, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on April 12, 2021.
Residents receiving cash assistance from the government, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on April 12, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

NAIROBI (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION) - One in two people worldwide saw his 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 (May 3).

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 per cent in Thailand to a low of 10 per cent in Switzerland," said researchers in a statement.

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

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 per cent 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 reported stopping working temporarily. In the US, the figure was 39 per cent, research showed.

The poll also showed that one in three people surveyed lost his 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 per cent of respondents lost their jobs or businesses, compared with 3 per cent in Switzerland and 13 per cent in the United States.