Pandemic ‘amplifies’ employment woes for Asia's youth: ILO-ADB study

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2020 11:07 AM

Commuters wait for a ride along Commonwealth Ave on June 1, 2020, the start of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The youth aged 15 to 24 years in the Asia and the Pacific would be “hit harder” by the COVID-19 pandemic, a report released Tuesday showed. 

The youth faces greater losses since nearly half of them were employed in the 4 major sectors hardest hit by the crisis, which are wholesale, retail, trade and repair, manufacturing, rental and business services, and accommodation and food services, the International Labor Organization said in a statement.

The youth will likely suffer from “longer-term” economic and social costs, said an International Labor Organization - Asian Development Bank report called “Tackling the COVID-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific. 

Employment for the youth were affected through job disruptions or reduced working hours and earnings, job losses for both paid workers and self-employed, disruptions in education and training, difficulties in transitioning from school to work and moving between jobs in a recession, the study showed. 

“The pre-crisis challenges for youth are now amplified since COVID-19 hit. Without sufficient attention, our fear is that this risk creating a ‘lockdown generation’ that could feel the weight of this crisis for many years to come,” says Sara Elder, a lead author of the report and head of the ILO Regional Economic and Social Analysis unit.

In the first quarter of 2020, youth unemployment “increased sharply” in 6 out of 9 economies including Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as Hong Kong and China, the ILO said.

While youth unemployment is predicted to reach at least double the 2019 estimates in Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand. 

Unemployment in the Philippines in April ballooned 17.7 percent to 7.3 million, while a recent SWS survey showed at least 45.5 percent of adults were jobless 

The study predicted that between 10 to 15 million jobs for the youth could be lost across 13 countries in Asia and the Pacific this year.

The ILO and the ADB recommend that youth employment should be prioritized in COVID-19 recovery efforts for inclusive and sustainable growth.