Unemployment is the main concern for business executives globally, with fiscal crisis – the top concern in 2019 – coming third this year, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

According to WEF’s interactive map on Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020, infectious diseases is the number two risk based on its survey of over 12,000 business leaders, while fiscal crisis ranks third.

While the top risks are mostly related to economics, climate-related risks are causing greater concern this year, with natural catastrophes, extreme weather events, and biodiversity loss all featuring more prominently.

The employment disruptions caused by the pandemic, rising automation, and the transition to greener economies are fundamentally changing labor markets, said Saadia Zahidi, WEF managing director.

“As we emerge from the crisis, leaders have a remarkable opportunity to create new jobs, and reimagine social safety nets to adequately meet the challenges in the labour markets of tomorrow,” she said.

COVID-19 is distracting the world from certain long-term risks that will be around long after the current crisis is resolved, warned Peter Giger, group chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group.

“But the pandemic is also having the positive effect of leading many to reassess priorities,” he stressed, adding that this will ensure that businesses advance their risk resilience strategies to combat “existential risks” like climate change.

The findings of Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020 are based on a survey of over 12,000 business leaders from 127 countries.

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