Covid-19 pandemic to hit 220mn young workers in Asia-Pacific

MANILA, AUGUST 18 (IANS): The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will hit nearly 220 million young workers aged between 15-24 in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday.

The report titled "tackling the Covid-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific", said the pandemic has triggered a massive disruption of labour markets that has had disproportionate impacts on youth employment, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Through lockdowns and travel restrictions, demand has slumped and many businesses have been forced to close or cut back operations, with serious impacts on workers," it said.

The report, a co-publication of the ADB and the International Labour Organization (ILO), said that nearly 220 million young workers in the region are particularly vulnerable given their short tenure on the job, their employment in especially hard-hit sectors, and their tendency to earn livelihoods in unsecured informal jobs.

"Youth will be hit harder than adults in the immediate crisis and also will bear higher longer-term economic and social costs." To address the youth employment crisis, the study urges governments to urgently adopt large-scale and targeted responses centred on comprehensive labour market policies, including wage subsidies and public employment programs to minimize the impacts on young students of disrupting their education and training.

It said: "Effective Covid-19 mitigation measures will ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable youth are reached and that young people are meaningfully engaged in policy and social dialogue." Moreover, the report stressed the need to prioritize youth employment and maximize youth productivity in the Covid-19 recovery process, saying these will improve Asia-Pacific's prospects for inclusive and sustainable growth, demographic transition, and social stability.