One in six young people has stopped working since the pandemic started

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Some 17.1% of employed young people across the globe have stopped working since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and those who have remained in work have seen their working hours reduced by 23%, according to a report from the International Labour Organization (ILO), published on Wednesday (27 May).

The fourth edition of the ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work, which monitors the effects of the pandemic, showed that the COVID‑19 crisis is hitting young people faster and harder.

According to the report, the areas of wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, business and administrative activities and accommodation and food services are the ones where the crisis had a higher impact on the economic output.

Almost three-quarters of the young people working in these four sectors, or 131 million, are informally employed so they are neither taxed nor monitored by any form of government.

While young women account for less than 39% of global youth employment, they make up almost 51% of youth employment in accommodation and food services and 44% in the business and administrative activities sector.

Lockdown generation

The exclusion of young people from the labour market, given the long-lasting impacts of the pandemic, is “one of the greatest dangers for society”, the report said.

Even before the crisis, more than 267 million young people were not in employment, education or training (NEET), including almost 68 million unemployed young people.

The disruption to education and training, the emergence of greater obstacles to finding work, the current wave of job losses and the collapse of businesses are some of the long-term challenges for young people underlined by the ILO.

In a series of policy recommendations, the ILO Monitor stressed that is now necessary for governments and institutions to take action in order to prevent the risk of a “lockdown generation”.

A large-scale and targeted employment policy responses, combined with supportive macroeconomic policies, investment in testing and tracing and the implementation of a broad-based employment/training guarantee programmes – like the European Union’s Youth Guarantee scheme – are some of the recommendations suggested by the ILO Monitor.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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