APAC job markets post modest recovery in 2022

While Asia-Pacific labour markets recorded a partial rebound from the pandemic, 2023 is expected to present challenges hindering a full recovery.
By: | November 29, 2022

According to the Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2022: Rethinking Sectoral Strategies for a Human-Centred Future of Work report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), employment numbers in the Asia-Pacific region in 2022 were 2.0% above the pre-crisis level of 2019, recovering from the loss of over 57 million jobs in 2020.

However, the region still lacks 22 million jobs in 2022, a jobs gap of 1.1% compared to if the pandemic had not occurred. This number is projected to increase to 26 million (1.4%) in 2023 given the headwinds to growth in the current geopolitical global and regional context. 

At the same time, total working hours in the region remained below those of 2019, while the regional unemployment rate in 2022 was 5.2%, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from 2019. 

By 2022, all subregions had regained the employment losses of 2020 and were showing positive employment growth over 2019. However, employment growth did not keep pace with population growth, with only the Pacific recording an employment-to-population ratio in 2022 above that of 2019.

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Chihoko Asada Miyakawa, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, said, “Although Asia-Pacific employment trends look positive, the region’s labour market is not yet back on its pre-crisis track with numerous additional challenges casting shadows on future growth prospects. It is vital that we bring inclusive and human-centred growth back to the region and not settle for a ‘quasi’ recovery based on informal and poor-quality jobs.”