If you are one of those graduating from your university this year or next, it's bad luck for you.
Because the sudden grinding halt of the economy that is crumbling down, is one of the harshest in history and the broken economy is unlikely to generate many jobs for you. Not this year. Or the year next. Or for that matter, for many more years.
It's really bad luck for you as none of the past global economic recessions have had such a catastrophic impact on employment in such a short space of time as has been caused by the pandemic-stricken present recession.
All the economies--be it large or small, developed or developing- are reeling from the shock of the pandemic fallout.
While the countries are fumbling for recovery with stimulus of trillion of dollars, rising unemployment along with negative economic growth appear to be the greatest hurdles to achieving the goal, as economists predict all around.
Bangladesh is no exception as the pandemic has ravaged the real economy that concerns the production, purchase and flow of goods and services within an economy.
When our economy was performing well in the last five years while recording an average 7 percent growth, the employment scene was not bright even then. It was labelled as "jobless growth" because of the low employment generation compared to the fast pace of economic growth.
Now the economy has been hit hardest by the pandemic at a time when we were eyeing on 8.20 percent growth in the current fiscal year after registering a record 8.15 percent last year.
That optimism rings hollow now and the economic outlook looks grim. The world bank made a chilling projection of our growth a short while back which predicts the rate to be in the region of 2 to 3 percent in the current fiscal year.
The pandemic forced the government to go for a two-month long shutdown, closing the economy and leaving more than one crore workers, mostly in the informal sector, out of work and income.
Of the total 60.9 million workforce, only 14 million are on monthly payroll in the formal sector. Daily wage-earners would account for 10 million, 7 million are family helps and 27 million are self-employed—doing small businesses or repair work or in service sectors.
It is the informal sector workers who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. They have been struggling to survive just for today as they lost their earnings.
The negative income shocks will push the country's poverty rate to 40.9 percent, which is exactly double of the present poverty rate at 20.5 percent, said the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM).
Once the shutdown is lifted, many small and medium businesses will face a grim reality to restart their businesses. Many of them have already become unable to pay their workers. They may opt for further job cuts for their survival. This means many more people will lose their jobs.
Migrant workers who returned from different countries, particularly from the Middle East, may not be able to go back to those countries soon as the oil economies are also reeling from the oil price shock.
So, the returnees will enter the local job market creating an extra burden on it. This number of the job seekers may be well over two-million. The decline in overseas employment will result in a decrease in remittance causing mounting pressure on our balance of payment.
The apparel sector which brought in more than 84 percent of the country's foreign currency is also in a bad position. It has already faced order cancellation to the tune of more than $3 billion. Numerous workers have been laid off already in the sector. Many other factories are struggling to keep their heads above water. Their failure to rebound will also leave many more jobless in the economy.
Youths to suffer most
But the worst sufferers will be our youths.
Young adults who are fighting the virus well compared to the elderly will suffer most from the fallout of the pandemic due to the shrinking job market.
Every year, two million youths enter Bangladesh's labor force. But they will be entering a job market extremely inhospitable to them. They will face a severe scarcity of jobs as businesses are not expected to generate much employment during the recovery period.
The vast scale of the digital transformation of the workplace caused by the coronavirus is likely to make the recovery into the new economy even less reliant on the relatively less skilled than in the past.
And it is not only in Bangladesh. Youths all over the world are staring at unprecedented job scarcity.
The Economist in its latest report says the short-term shock of the pandemic will leave long-term scars.
The Resolution Foundation, a British think tank, estimates that the pandemic means those emerging from education this year will be less likely to have jobs in three years' time.
The likelihood of being in employment would fall by 13% for graduates and 37% for those with the fewest qualifications.
The effect could last well into the 2030s. A study of the effect of recessions on younger workers by Bart Cockx of Ghent University in Belgium found that it takes about ten years for cohorts that enter the labour market during a downturn to catch up with cohorts that did not, said the Economist report.
"That the low-paid and the young are the hardest hit economically by the pandemic is a dark echo of the King James Bible: "But whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." The social and political consequences may be huge," said The Economist in its latest report.
Before the pandemic, Bangladesh had around one crore unemployed people. The shutdown has already doubled the number.
The pandemic fallout may keep shrinking the job market further in the coming months, making our recovery fight tougher.
How long will it take?
Risk managers expect a prolonged global recession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, said a recent report by the World Economic Forum.
It says two-thirds of the 347 respondents to the survey - carried out in response to the outbreak - put a lengthy contraction in the global economy top of their list of concerns for the next 18 months.
Half of the risk managers expected bankruptcies and industry consolidation, the failure of industries to recover and high levels of unemployment, particularly among the young, said the report.
Painting a bleaker picture of the social and economic impact of the pandemic, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva earlier said the pandemic sweeping the world will turn global economic growth "sharply negative" in 2020, triggering the worst fallout since the 1930s Great Depression, with only a partial recovery seen in 2021.
The Bank of England has warned the British economy could shrink by 14% this year and unemployment could more than double by spring as the coronavirus causes the deepest recession in 300 years.
Unemployment rate is skyrocketing in almost every country.
In the USA, the world largest economy, around 39 million Americans have lost their jobs in just nine weeks which has not been seen since the 1930s Great Depression.
US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, recently said he expects unemployment to continue to rise as the pandemic takes its toll, but warned of "permanent damage" to the economy if the lockdowns are prolonged.
Consultancy McKinsey earlier estimated that unemployment in Europe could nearly double in the coming months, with up to 59 million jobs at risk from permanent cutbacks as well as reductions in pay and hours because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The situation in China, the second largest economy, also looks gloomy.
Millions of Chinese people are being laid off from work by the collapse in global demand and a slow restart of the domestic economy. A lack of clarity about exactly how many is making it harder to gauge the chances for recovery, said a Bloomberg recent report.
The weak employment growth has been a key feature of previous economic recoveries – a phenomenon economists call "jobless recovery".
In the US, following the global financial crisis of 2008, it took over six years for employment to get back to its pre-recession peak.
The recessions of 1991 caused after the Gulf War and 2001 caused by the dot-com bubble crash also saw long-lasting high levels of unemployment, with immense economic and social consequences.
In Europe, the effect on employment after the 2008 recession was even more dramatic. It took the EU 11 years to return to its pre-crisis unemployment rate of 6.7%.
When other countries were suffering from the last global economic recession in 2008, we were lucky.
But this time, we are already feeling the pain and facing an unavoidable jobless recovery. Our youths have no shield in this grim future.