Mbabane: The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a lot of damage in many industries and many people have lost jobs due to its effect on the economy.
International Labour Organization (ILO) has disclosed that more than one in six young people have stopped working since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic while those who remain employed have seen their working hours cut by 23 percent.
Eswatini had earlier predicted that about 30 percent job losses was expected but if the situation takes long, there would be more cuts due to the COVID-19 effects on the economy.
According to the “ILO Monitor of COVID-19 and the world of work, 4th edition”, 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 labour market or to move between jobs.
According to the ILO report, the youth unemployment rate in 2019 was at 13.6 percent, and was already higher than for any other group. There were around 267 million young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) worldwide. Those 15-24-year olds 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.
“The COVID-19 economic crisis has hit hard on young people especially women than any other group,” reads the report in part.
ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder was quoted as saying: “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,” says the report.
The monitor calls for urgent, large-scale and targeted policy responses to support youth, including broad-based employment/training guarantee programmes in developed countries, and employment-intensive programmes and guarantees in low- and middle-income economies.
ILO calls for measures to create a safe environment for returning to work. It says that rigorous testing and tracing (TT) of COVID-19 infections, “is strongly related to lower labour market disruption and substantially smaller social disruptions than confinement and lockdown measures.”
In countries with strong testing and tracing, the average fall in working hours is reduced by as much as 50 percent.
The report also updated the estimate for the decline in working hours in the first and second quarters of 2020, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. An estimated 4.8 percent of working hours were lost during Q1 2020 (equivalent to approximately 135 million full-time jobs, assuming a 48-hour working week).
This represents a slight upward revision of around 7 million jobs since the third edition of the monitor. The estimated number of jobs lost in Q2 remain unchanged at 305 million.
The ILO also call for immediate and urgent measures to support workers and enterprises along the ILO’s four-pillar strategy: stimulating the economy and employment supporting enterprises, jobs and incomes, protecting workers in the workplace and relying on social dialogue for Solutions.
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