Quarter of Europe’s jobs at risk from coronavirus crisis: report

Unemployment could almost double in the coming months, McKinsey predicts.


More than a quarter of all jobs in Europe could be impacted by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis from McKinsey.

The consultancy estimated that up to 59 million jobs are at risk of things like reduced working hours, temporary furloughs or permanent job losses. Unemployment could almost double in the coming months with staff most affected in areas like customer service and sales, food services and building occupations, the study, published Monday, found.

McKinsey urged policymakers to take “swift and forceful action” taking into account the varying impact across industries, occupations and demographics.

“Europe must avoid the significant rise in unemployment witnessed during the 2008-9 financial crisis,” when the unemployment rate rose by 27 percent, the report said.

Social inequalities could be exacerbated by the economic shock due to a high correlation between a low education level and the most impacted jobs, the analysis warned.

Younger workers and staff at small and medium-sized enterprises are also more exposed to the economic impact of the virus.

Alongside economic stimulus measures, McKinsey suggested governments could incentivize redeploying workers to critical sectors — for instance, food retailers could temporarily employ restaurant staff.

Government-run programs could retrain workers or even pay small companies while staff undergo training, the study said.