Rapid assessment

ILO estimates underscore Afghanistan employment crisis

A rapid assessment by the International Labour Organization highlights huge losses in jobs and working hours since the change in administration with women workers especially hard hit.

Press release | 19 January 2022
Afghani workers look to the future with uncertainty. © Shutterstock
BANGKOK (ILO News) – Job losses in Afghanistan following the change in administration in August 2021 totalled more than half a million in the third quarter and may reach 900,000 by mid-2022, according to new estimates released by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The contraction – a 14 per cent loss by mid-2022 – reflects workers pushed out of employment due to the change in administration and ensuing economic crisis as well as restrictions on women’s participation in the workplace.

The total number of hours worked in the Afghan economy is estimated to have dropped by 13 per cent in the third quarter of 2021 compared to a hypothetical scenario with no change in administration.

Women workers have been disproportionately impacted by the crisis. Already extremely low by global standards, women’s employment levels are estimated to have decreased 16 per cent in the third quarter 2021 with a pessimistic scenario projecting falls of up to 28 per cent by mid-2022.

The situation in Afghanistan is critical and immediate support for stabilization and recovery is required. While the priority is to meet immediate humanitarian needs, lasting and inclusive recovery will depend on people and communities having access to decent employment, livelihoods and basic services."

Ramin Behzad, Senior Coordinator of the ILO for Afghanistan
Key sectors have been devastated since the takeover including agriculture, the civil service and the construction industry which have all seen large-scale job losses or workers go unpaid.

The ILO continues to promote productive employment and decent work for the Afghan people with a focus on emergency employment, employment intensive investment, enterprise promotion and skills development.

Further details can be found at Employment prospects in Afghanistan: A rapid impact assessment.

For further information please contact:

Steve Needham
Senior Communications Officer
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Email: needham@ilo.org