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Young workers have been hit hardest by COVID fallout, says UN labour agency

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Young workers have been hit hardest by COVID fallout, says UN labour agency

The number of young people globally without jobs will reach 73 million this year, a full 6 million more than before COVID-19, the United Nations labor agency said on Thursday.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), since the global health emergency was declared in early 2020, the pandemic has created many additional problems for young people aged 15 to 24, whose job losses are “significantly higher than those of older workers”. many”.

Young women have a harder time finding work than men, and the Arab countries are expected to have the highest youth unemployment rate by the end of the year compared to the global average.

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global youth labour market- said Martha Newton, the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Policy.

It exposes some flaws in the way the needs of young people are being met, particularly the most vulnerable first-time job seekers, dropouts, inexperienced recent graduates and those who involuntarily remain inactive.

Speaking at the launch of the ILO report Global Youth Employment Trends 2022: Investing in Transforming the Futures of Young People, Ms Newton said the proportion of youth without employment, education or training rose to 23.3 per cent in 2020.

That was a 1.5 percentage point increase from 2019, a level not seen in at least 15 years, the ILO report found.

As the ‘scar’ effect continues, this group of young people is at particular risk of seeing their labour market opportunities and outcomes deteriorate over the long term- the report states.

Gender inequality
Highlights of the report include the worrying finding that young women are worse off than young men at finding work. This year, less than 3 in 10 young women globally are expected to be working, compared to more than 4 in 10 young men.

The gender gap has shown little sign of narrowing over the past two decades, being the largest at 17.3 percentage points in low- and middle-income countries and the smallest at 2.3 percentage points in high- income countries- the ILO report said.

Only high-income countries are recovering The latest labour force data reviewed by the
International Labour Organization also suggested that only high-income countries could see youth unemployment levels “closer to the 2019” recovery by the end of the year.

In low-income countries, youth unemployment is projected to be more than a percentage point higher than pre-crisis values.
In Africa, the continent’s youth unemployment rate of 12.7 per cent masks the fact that many young people are opting out of the labour force altogether, the ILO said. “In 2020, more than one in five young people in Africa were without employment, education or training, and this trend has been worsening,” the report states.

The Arab countries have the highest and fastest-growing youth unemployment rate in the world, which is expected to reach 24.8% in 2022. as high as the global average for young women (14.5%),” the ILO said.

In Europe and Central Asia, the unemployment rate for 15- to 24-year-olds is expected to be 1.5% higher this year than in the rest of the world (16.4% vs. 14.9%).
Despite “substantial progress” in reducing unemployment among young men and women, the ILO said the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “is very likely to affect the outcome”.

While 14.9% of young workers in Asia Pacific are still looking for work by the end of the year, on par with the global average, the situation in Latin America could remain a concern, with the rate expected to be 20.5%.
Historically, unemployment among young women has been higher than among young men (in Latin American countries), but the crisis has exacerbated this trend-the ILO report said.

However, the picture is quite different in North America, where youth and youth unemployment is projected to reach the world average of 8.3%.

The solution is green and blue
To address this, the UN labour agency is urging governments to implement sustainable green and blue (ocean) policy measures. According to the report, this could create an additional 8.4 million jobs for young people by 2030.

The ILO insists that targeted investments in digital technologies can also absorb large numbers of young workers. Universal broadband coverage by 2030 could create around 24 million new jobs globally, including 6.4 million young workers.

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