The coronavirus outbreak is hitting the young “harder and faster than any other group,” with a risk of scarring them for their working lives, according to the International Labour Organization.
More than than one in six people have stopped working since the onset of the crisis, highlighting the predicament of a cohort often subject to informal contracts, low pay and disproportionately likely to work in sectors like retail that have been shut down by the outbreak.
“The pandemic is inflicting a triple shock on young people,” the ILO said in a report on Wednesday. “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 labor market or to move between jobs.”
In the U.S. alone, the unemployment rate for young men aged 16-24 surged from 8.5% to 24% between February and April, while for young women it jumped from 7.5% to 29.8%. Similar trends were visible in Canada, China, Australia, and other countries, the ILO said.
Young people entering the labor market during a recession can suffer the fallout for years because they struggle to find a job or have to take one that doesn’t match their educational background.
“Long-lasting wage losses are likely to be experienced by entire cohorts of young people who have the misfortune of graduating from secondary school or university during the 2019/20 academic year,” the report found.
The ILO’s warning stands in contrast to comments made by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, who at an on-line event for young people on Wednesday encouraged viewers to embrace change, acquire new skills and be “prepared to do all sorts of jobs.”
(c) 2020, Bloomberg · Carolynn Look ·