Even before the pandemic hit, global economic growth had slowed. The COVID-19 crisis disrupted economic activities around the world and caused the worst recession since the Great Depression. In 2020, 8.8 per cent of global working hours were lost (relative to the fourth quarter of 2019), equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs – about four times the number lost during the global financial crisis in 2007–2009. The pandemic has put workers in informal employment at risk, as they lack protection against illness or lockdowns. Young workers and women have been particularly affected by the crisis. With the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and continued fiscal and monetary support, the United States of America and China are expected to experience strong growth in 2021. However, for many other countries, economic growth will remain below pre-pandemic trends for a prolonged period.

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