Coronavirus outbreak

25pc of youth lose jobs

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Before the coronavirus outbreak, Ferdous Iftekhar would provide information technology (IT) training to 40 job seekers in two batches at an organisation in Uttara.

Thirty-year–old Iftekhar has a family of four members. He lost his job as all types of training were suspended at the beginning of April due to coronavirus.

As coronavirus is still raging all over the country like elsewhere in the world, his unemployment is unlikely to end. A post-graduate in business and commerce, Iftekhar told Prothom Alo, “I don’t know when coronavirus will go away. I am thinking of running a small business.”

Before the coronavirus, some 12 youth out of 100 between 15-24 years were unemployed, now the number had increased to 25
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Like Ferdous, thousands of young boys and girls have become jobless. ILO in a report said the rate of unemployed youth have become double in Bangladesh due to the coronavirus.

Before the coronavirus, some 12 youth out of 100 between 15-24 years were unemployed, now the number had increased to 25.

Currently the opportunity of new jobs is limited. New jobs seekers are also in trouble. There are already 2.7 million unemployed people.

As business and commerce have been affected due to coronavirus, neither small nor big companies are recruiting as before.

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Unemployment among youth has doubled

Young boys and girls in Asia are at high risk due to coronavirus pandemic. Joblessness has shot up.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) published a report titled ‘Tackling the COVID-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific’ in August. Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded this report. ILO in its report depicted the scenario of job loss due to coronavirus in 13 countries of Asia and Pacific region. Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand are among the countries.

ILO has assessed the impact of the job crisis on youth in the first and second quarters of 2020.

About Bangladesh, ILO said some 24.8 per cent of youth has lost jobs as the coronavirus prolonged for six months. The rate was 11.9 per cent in 2019. Youths normally work full time or part time. Both of work has been lost. ILO said if all youth would work full time, that means 48 hours in a week, the number of total unemployed youth would stand at 1,675,000.

ILO said alongside shutdown of firms, youths were terminated from their jobs. Working hours were decreased. Many have gone from the formal sectors to the informal sectors. So it is difficult to assess the genuine number of job losses.

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According to ILO, some 14.8 million youths have lost jobs in 13 countries. 6.1 million youth lost jobs in India. Youths have lost jobs in seven sectors out of 35. These are: agriculture, retail sales, hotel-restaurant, local transport, textile, textile, construction and others. In Bangladesh, 76 per cent of youths lost jobs from these seven sectors. 22.9 per cent of youths lost jobs in the agriculture sector and 13.6 in textile.

The economy has to be kept vibrant for fresh recruitment. Businesses have to be brought back to normal. If investment comes, new factories will be established and scope for jobs will increase, he added
Shamsul Alam, member, planning commission

Speaking to Prothom Alo, planning commission member Shamsul Alam said the number of unemployed youths has increased in the first two-three months. At the beginning of coronavirus outbreak, strict restriction was imposed, but later it was eased. As a result, the overall economy started picking up. The joblessness of a huge number of people could be tackled, he added.

Scope for jobs decreases

There are job opportunities in informal and formal sectors. Advertisements are not given for the informal sector. During the coronavirus, advertisements for recruitment in the formal sector have decreased. Advertisements in bdjobs have decreased significantly during the coronavirus. Some 2768 advertisements of different companies for jobs were found till Sunday afternoon, but the number had been 3,000-4,000 during normal times.

Bdjobs sources said 80 per cent of the advertisements have decreased in April than in March. 70 per cent decreased in May. However, the situation started to improve in June and July.

Currently, 15 to 20 per cent of advertisements are less than normal.

Analysing the bdjobs portal, it is found that most of the firms are looking for experienced persons.

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Among the heavy industries, like BSRM steel, work on three projects has slowed. Of these, one is new and two others are extensions of factories. Engineers are unable to come due to travel bans on foreigners. So installment of machinery is halted and new employment is not being created.

BSRM managing director Amer Ali Hussain said all work has slowed down. The investors will not go for expansion of their business unless everything becomes normal. So it is difficult to recruit fresh manpower.

What will happened to new jobs seekers

According to the planning commission, in Bangladesh around 1.8 million young men and women come to the job market. Of these, 600,000 to 700,000 people go abroad for jobs. The rest engage locally. Migrant workers are returning home due to coronavirus. Economic recession persists in different countries including the Middle East. The scope of jobs also decreased there.

Planning commission member Shamsul Alam said the economy has to be kept vibrant for fresh recruitment. Businesses have to be brought back to normal. If investment comes, new factories will be established and scope for jobs will increase, he added.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.

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