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Youth unemployment Threat of Covid-19

Rayhan Ahmed Topader:

 

 

Global unemployment, which stands at 190 million, could see a sharp rise as businesses lay off workers and cut working hours. The impact on those working in the informal sector, mostly in the poorest countries, would be worse as they lack social protection such as unemployment benefits. Since lockdowns were enforced, manufacturers of cars, clothes and shoes have seen a sharp drop in demand, which could have a cascading impact on employment rates far beyond these sectors.

The worse affected sectors are those where employees are mostly low-skilled and underpaid, such as construction workers.
Around 1.25 billion people, making up almost 38 percent of the global workforce, are employed in sectors that face severe stress, including hotels, restaurants and shops in shopping malls.The world is now struggling to combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic. The virus has already reached every corner of the world. In many cases, it is spreading at different paces and intensifying in other regions. The pandemic has brought severe adverse impact on every sector of the global economy as well as education and put the unemployed youth into deep trouble. Being a developing country, Bangladesh has been fighting to create adequate job opportunities for its people, including youth for long. Despite a remarkable economic growth in recent years, the country has yet to do so, raising questions about the quality of the growth.

As Bangladesh is gradually moving forward to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Artificial Intelligence, a lot of manual workers have already started losing their jobs due to increased automation. And now the Covid-19 has intensified their woes.Major Trends In Youth Employment Informal Employment Widespread Among Younger People: 77% of the employed Youth are informally employed. However, this varies from region to region. While only 12.8% of the employed youth are in the informal sector in North America, the percentage is 95% when it comes to Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.Automation Might Increase Unemployment Among Youth: While automation is bringing change in all across the Global Employment scenario, the jobs held by the youth are especially in danger. Youth who have higher education get access to jobs which are at less risk of being automated and vice-versa.Youth Employment In The Covid-19 World.The world economy has turned upside down due to the pandemic with unemploy- ment soaring globally. The biggest hit are the people in the informal sector with the workers losing 60% of their income in within the first month of the strike of the pandemic. About 1 in 6 people in this sector are out of work while the ones who are still working have seen their hours get cut by 23%.Since almost three quarters of the youth labour force are in the informal sector, they shall be hit the hardest.

Moreover, the class of 2020 study finds that 800,000 young people would join the labour force this year and a large portion of them are likely to be unemployed due to the crisis.

The most important indicator to understand the employment scenario of the Youth is finding the NEET or Not in Education, Employment, or Training.This helps us understand what portion of the youth population is not being able to provide any value to the society. Currently, the NEET percentage of Bangladesh is  16.2% higher than the global average youth NEET rate of 21.8%, and 9.4% higher than the South Asian regional average youth NEET rate of 28.6%. This indicates that Bangladesh is not being able to successfully utilize its demographic dividend. The unemployment among Bangladeshi youth has been increasing since 2010 but first saw a dip in 2019. This could be an encouraging trend for the current youth.

Though it is very difficult to get an accurate survey on the unemployment rate in Bangladesh, but it can be said with certainty that unemployment is increasing day by day in the country. It is a problem caused by the scarcity of employment compared to the manpower of a country. Jobless people cannot contribute to the economy of the country or even build their own beautiful life.

They are being involved in various types of criminal activities due to the unbearable pain of unemployment. However, 32 percent of the total population of Bangladesh is youth which is about 5 crore and 30 lakh. Among them, about 27 percent have no training, education or formal knowledge.Under 23 ministries of the government, various trainings are being imparted to the youth across the country to enhance their skills.The government has taken up the challenge of eliminating unemployment and has promised to create 1.5 crore jobs in the next five years.According to the survey by the Government Development Research Institute (BIDS), one-third of the country’s Secondary to post graduate are unemployed. The survey also shows that about 33 percent of educated youth are completely unemployed However, according to the ILO survey,there are about three crore unemployed in Bangladesh and in the next few years it will be 6 crores. 39.40 percent of the total population will be unemployed.There is no accurate update on how many jobs have been created or how many have become unemployed in the last one year. Large scale of job opportunities and entrepreneurship were not created. The employment picture has not changed much. In Bangladesh, 18 lakh young people join the labour market every year. 6 lakh of them migrate abroad. More than 10 lakh jobs are created in the country’s labour market. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, newspapers have published a series of reports on job losses due to shutdown or slowdown of economic activities.

The job loss put a large number of young people into depression.The young job seekers are seen to pass their time with severe anxiety thinking the post-Covid-19 impact on the job market.Bangladesh is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and moving forward to become a developed country by 2041. For that, the incumbent government is taking significant steps to ensure decent jobs for the youth by creating different job opportunities by wage-earning and self-employment. Against the backdrop of Covid19, the government needs to come forward to create a special department with the public service commission to evaluate the unprecedented situation and take appropriate steps in this regard. A reform in BCS recruitment system is necessary now, and the age limit can be considered at least for a particular period to combat this evolving coronavirus situation.The Covid-19 has caused tremendous negative consequences in the economy through threatening millions of livelihoods and damaging the earning sources of around 50 million people in the informal sector in Bangladesh.The aim of the study is to provide a comprehensive and demonstra- tive review on the observed data and the potential impact of massive unemployment that will arise in future after lock-down.

The study based on secondary sources of information, since it is very tough to find any quantitative study on the extent of the widening toll on unemployment in the consequences of Corona virus in Bangladesh. Tension is growing fast in the economy due to the rapid-spread stage of outbreak of Covid-19 in Bangladesh. The study finds that massive job losses will happen in both formal and informal sectors, as all of the sectors in Bangladesh e.g. RMG, Remittance, export and import, transportation, tourism, banking and insurance, education are in vulnerable position because of the devastating effect of Corona virus.Recent study indicates that preventive workforce initiatives aimed at better alignment between educational pipelines and job markets are needed. Furthermore, early mental support and resilience training programs during higher education are needed to potentially mitigate the elevated risk of mental issues among university graduates in Bangladesh by further exploring with a national large-scale sample concerning our yielded risk issues.

Writer and Columnist

raihan567@yahoo.com