Post-COVID economy: China is growing, South Korea is not too bad. The abyss of unemployment haunts everyone

According to OECD data, except for China (+11.5), other countries have experienced heavy losses: South Korea (-3.3), the US (-9.5), Germany (-10.1), France (-13.8), Spain (-18.5), Italy (-12.4). In OECD countries, unemployment is expected to reach 10 per cent by the end of 2020. Job recovery is not expected until the end of 2021. Pope Francis makes an appeal.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only China seems to have had positive growth in the second quarter of 2020.

For a few dozen countries examined, growth was more or less negative, consequence of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The situation is especially bleak for unemployment, which may continue well into 2021.

Yesterday the OECD released Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth data for the second quarter of this year for a group of 36 of the richest and most advanced countries, as well as six other: China, Russia, India, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa.

Among them, China shows an 11.5 per cent growth in April-June (in the previous quarter it was  6.8 per cent); South Korea was  in the negative with a 3.3 per cent contraction. All the other economies have more consistent negative data: the US economy shrank by 9.5 per cent, Germany’s by 10.1, France’s by 13.8, Spain’s by 18.5, and Italy’s by 12.4.

However, the most devastating effect of the pandemic was on the job market with millions of people unable to work either due to the reduction in working hours or job loss.

According to the OECD, many countries experienced 10 times fewer hours of work compared to the 2008 financial crisis. Millions were laid off, others had their hours reduced, whilst millions more lost their job for good.

Among OECD countries, unemployment is expected to rise to 10 per cent by the end of 2020; in 2019 it was 5.9. The figure could go up further to 12 per cent if another COVID-19 wave occurs. Job recovery is not expected until the end of 2021.

Yesterday, during the Angelus, Pope Francis expressed hope that "with the convergent commitment of all political and economic leaders, the labour market can be relaunched: without work, families and society cannot move forward. Let us pray for this, because it is and will be a post-pandemic problem”.