After the global economic downturn in 2009, the world as a whole witnessed rising labour productivity and improved unemployment rates, despite large disparities across regions. Ten years later, in 2019, the global economy again slowed, with the lowest growth since 2008–2009. The coronavirus in 2020 has caused abrupt and profound changes, slowing the economy even further. It is having an adverse impact on the world’s labour markets, particularly on workers in informal employment, the self-employed, daily wage earners and workers in sectors at the highest risk of disruption. In fact, we can expect the biggest increase in global unemployment since World War II. At the same time, the crisis poses a serious threat to the occupational safety and health of workers, and may increase the risk of child labour. Urgent policy measures are needed to support businesses, boost labour demand and preserve existing jobs – especially for the most vulnerable – to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men.