Visualizing How COVID-19 Has Impacted Global Wages


Visualizing How COVID-19 Impacted Global Wages

In the years leading up to the pandemic, annual global wage growth was fluctuating stably between 1.6%–2.2%. Now, income, working hours, and employment have all been impacted by COVID-19—but for those who have held onto their jobs, how have wages been affected?

This interactive chart from the International Labour Organization (ILO) reveals how the global pandemic has affected both nominal and real wages, as well as unemployment rates.

The date of data collection varies on a country-by-country basis, using the most recent available data. The most recent measurement of wage indices is from September 2020 in some countries and the least recent available data comes from Q2’2020. In select countries the date of unemployment rates and wage indices are different. As a point of reference, the average wage index in 2019 was 100.

Note: the ILO uses national statistics databases and only the select countries had enough recent, available data for all three elements: nominal wages, real wages, and unemployment.

Where Average Wages are Falling

Average wages in many countries either plateaued or decreased significantly during the global pandemic. Sharp declines happened across a number of European countries, as well as in South Africa and Japan, for example.


Country Unemployment Rate Real Wage Index Nominal Wage Index
Vietnam (as of Q2'2020) 2.7% 92.4 94.4
Spain (as of Q2'2020) 15.3% 92.5 92.3
Mexico (as of August 2020) 5% 94.4 98
South Africa (as of Q2'2020) 23.3% 95.2 97.4
South Korea (as of August 2020) 3.1% 96.2 96.8
Russia (as of August 2020) 6.4% 96.9 100.5
Czech Republic (as of Q2'2020) 6.6% 97.8 99.6
Slovakia (as of Q2'2020) 6.6% 97.8 99.6
Japan (as of August 2020) 3% 98.6 98.7
Finland (as of August 2020) 7.9% 99.6 100.1
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Disclosure: This material has been distributed for informational purposes only. It is the opinion of the author and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any ...

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