One in six young people out of work due to COVID-19

The International Labor Organization (ILO)’s latest analysis of the pandemic’s impact on labor market exposes the devastating and disproportionate effect on young workers.  Lee Kok Leong, executive editor, Maritime Fairtrade, reports

More than one in six young people have stopped working since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic while those who remain employed have seen their working hours cut by 23 per cent, says ILO.

Youth are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and the substantial and rapid increase in youth unemployment seen since February is affecting young women more than young men. 

The pandemic is inflicting a triple shock on young people. Not only is it destroying their employment, but it is also disrupting education and training, and placing major obstacles in the way of those seeking to enter the labor market or to move between jobs.

At 13.6 per cent, the youth unemployment rate in 2019 was already higher than for any other group. There were around 267 million young people not in employment, education or training worldwide. Those in the group of 15 to 24-year old who were employed were also more likely to be in forms of work that leave them vulnerable, such as low paid occupations, informal sector work, or as migrant workers. 

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, said: “The COVID-19 economic crisis is hitting young people, especially women, harder and faster than any other group. If we do not take significant and immediate action to improve their situation, the legacy of the virus could be with us for decades.

“If their talent and energy is side-lined by a lack of opportunity or skills it will damage all our futures and make it much more difficult to re-build a better, post-COVID economy.” 

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