The rise in the unemployment rate in Bangladesh will be more than double the last year’s figure if the containment is extended to six months
Around 1.7 million youths in Bangladesh may lose jobs this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic if the virus containment measures continue to be in force for six months, predicts an international study.
The report, jointly published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Tuesday, also shows the pandemic might cause job losses to about 1.18 million youths in the three-month virus containment.
The rise in the unemployment rate will be more than double the last year's figure (11.9%) if the containment is extended to six months in Bangladesh.
However, Bangladesh's gross domestic product growth may be 4.5 percent, the study also reckons.
Youths aged between 15 and 24 years are especially vulnerable as the Covid-19 crisis disrupts economic activities, with the youth being deemed as the first option for the cut-offs given the lack of professional experiences, according to the report.
"The fall in youth employment will be affected by the last-in-first-out process, in which young workers (hired more recently and with less job protection) are likely to lose work at a faster rate than adults," reads the report.
The study has covered the scenarios in countries located in Asia and the Pacific region.
The report, titled "Tackling the Covid-19 Youth Employment Crisis in Asia and the Pacific" finds that the employment prospects of the region's 660 million young people are severely challenged. They will be hit harder than adults and will bear more risks of longer-term economic and social costs.
Highest job losses in agri, textile, construction
According to the report, aggregate job losses may occur in seven sectors of Bangladesh: agriculture, retail trade, hotels and restaurants, inland transport, construction, textiles and textile products, and other services.
These seven sectors may account for 76 percent of total youth job losses in the country.
The agriculture sector will suffer most job losses followed by textile and textile products, construction and retail trade.
Youth job losses will continue throughout 2020 and may result in doubling the youth unemployment rates, warns the ADB-ILO report.
Around 10-15 million youth jobs may be lost across 13 countries in Asia and the Pacific this year, says the report.
Youth unemployment rates are expected to reach at least double the 2019 estimates even in a scenario of short Covid-19 containment in Nepal, Pakistan, Fiji, the Philippines and Thailand.
Among the South Asian countries, Sri Lanka may face the worst situation in terms of the youth unemployment rate (nearly 38%), followed by India (over 32%), Bangladesh (almost 25%) and Pakistan (over 21%).
Nepal will see the lowest job loss in South Asia, 4.8 percent in three-month containment and 6.1 percent in six-month containment.
Moreover, the largest decline in working hours worldwide is estimated to have occurred in South Asia this year, about 18 percent in the second quarter.
Previous warns for Bangladesh
Previously, national think tank institute South Asia Network on Economic Modelling said about 6-12 million people (both youths and adults) had already lost their jobs in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh.
Another research body – Economic Development Research Organisation – said about 16.5 million people might slip below the poverty line in the country due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Labour Force Survey 2016-17, the country's youth unemployment rate was 10.6 percent, much higher than the national unemployment rate (4.2%).
Tackling the crisis
The ADB and the ILO have suggested that prioritising youth employment and maximising youth productivity in the Covid-19 recovery process will improve Asia and the Pacific's future prospects for inclusive and sustainable growth, demographic transition and social stability.
Skills training would likewise help the youth return to the job market, they have said, adding that providing a stimulus to ailing companies would boost hiring, especially in badly-hit industries.