A man looks at signs of a closed store due to COVID-19 in Niles, Ill., Thursday, May 21, 2020. More than 2.4 million people…
FILE - A man looks at signs of a closed store due to COVID-19 in Niles, Ill., May 21, 2020.

A leading global economic group said Wednesday the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the worst global recession in nearly a century, and things could get worse before they start to get better. 
 
Speaking at a news briefing in Paris, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria painted a grim picture for the world, calling it the most severe global health, economic, and social crisis anyone alive today has ever seen.  
 
Economically, Gurria said the OECD is forecasting a six-percent decline in the global economy for 2020, the largest “by far” that any the group has predicted in 60 years of existence. And that prediction does not allow for any significant second COVID wave. He said If the coronavirus does re-emerge later in the year, the global economy could shrink as much as 7.6 percent.  

FILE - People line up outside the Utah Department of Workforce Services, April 13, 2020, in Salt Lake City.

Gurria said every nation has been hit hard, with hundreds of millions of people losing their jobs. The sectors hit the hardest have been tourism, air travel, and small to medium size businesses. Additionally, global trade also has slowed dramatically. 
 
The agency urged governments to tackle inequalities by investing in health care systems, global cooperation on medical supplies, vaccine and treatments, and retraining people working in these sectors that have been hit the hardest.   
 
They also urged nations to develop, manufacture and distribute any COVID vaccine or the treatments to all who need them. They said if the virus remains widespread, the economic costs will persist.