COVID-19 and Labor Markets in Southeast Asia

COVID-19 and Labor Markets in Southeast Asia

Impacts on Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam

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Description

This report examines the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on labor markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Labor markets in Southeast Asia were particularly hit hard in 2020, when government containment measures were most severe. COVID-19 has exacerbated growing inequalities in the region—hurting not just low-skilled workers but also middle-skilled workers whose jobs were already at risk from automation even before the pandemic. Large gaps in social protection coverage were also exposed. While the policy response has been significant, a narrowing fiscal space and the protracted nature of the pandemic still pose major challenges for recovery. The report aims to help policymakers identify priorities, constraints, and opportunities for developing effective labor market strategies for economic recovery and beyond.


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