Social challenges

Supporting people, jobs & small businesses

28/04/2021 PNG

Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, people are worried about their jobs and finances. The COVID-19 crisis has led to fall in employment and millions of jobs and businesses in once secure sectors have been hard hit, such as tourism, hospitality, retail and construction.

SMEs account for the majority of firms and jobs in OECD countries, particularly in these sectors. Many are struggling, as are those who work at them, often young people, women and low-income workers. Many have experienced work disruption – for example, being furloughed, losing their job, taking leave, resigning – since the start of the crisis.

The human impact is clear: 1 in 10 people say they haven’t been able to cover their usual expenses, such as rent, mortgage, a utility bill or a credit card bill. Things have been particularly tough for households with young people and children. People are concerned about their household’s overall well-being and about having the skills to secure a well-paid, stable job in the coming decade.

We need to provide adequate social protection to all people, as well as the necessary training for them to find work in new sectors as the recovery unfolds. We need to support viable firms and help industries develop new sectors and jobs.

Read more in the OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Risks that matter 2020: The long reach of COVID-19.