Jobs lost by youths in pandemic: 41 lakh

Construction and agriculture worst hit: Report

As many as 41 lakh youths in India lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of them in the construction and farm sectors, according to a joint report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that has warned against the creation of a doomed “lockdown generation”.

“For India, the report estimates job loss for 4.1 million youths. Construction and agriculture have witnessed the major job losses among seven key sectors,” says the ILO-ADB report, titled “Tackling the Covid-19 Youth Employment Crisis in Asia and the Pacific” and released on Tuesday.

The youth’s employment prospects in Asia and the Pacific are severely challenged because of the pandemic, it adds.

Youths, who the report classifies as those between 15 and 24 years of age, will be hit harder than adults, those above 25, in the immediate crisis and risk bearing higher longer-term economic and social costs, says the report.

The report is based on regional assessment of the “Global Survey on Youth and Covid-19” and arrived at estimates based on available unemployment data in different countries.

According to the report, two-thirds of firm-level apprenticeships in India and three-quarters of internships were completely interrupted during the pandemic.

The report calls on governments in Asia and the Pacific to adopt urgent, large-scale and targeted measures to generate jobs for youths, keep education and training on track, and to minimise future scarring of more than 660 million young people in the region.

Even before the Covid crisis, youths in Asia and the Pacific had been facing challenges in the labour market, resulting in high unemployment rates and large shares of youths being excluded from both school and work, the report says.

In 2019, the regional youth unemployment rate was 13.8 per cent, compared to 3 per cent for adults; and more than 160 million youths (24 per cent of the population) were not in employment, education or training.

“The pre-crisis challenges for youth are now amplified since Covid-19 hit. Without sufficient attention, our fear is that this risks creating a ‘lockdown generation’ that could feel the weight of this crisis for many years to come,” said Sara Elder, ead author of the report and head of the ILO Regional Economic and Social Analysis unit.

The report cites three ways in which young people have been affected by the pandemic. These are job disruptions in the form of reduced working hours and earnings, and job losses for both paid workers and the self-employed; interruptions in their education and training; and difficulties in transitioning from school to work, and moving between jobs in a recession.


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