GENEVA

Young people are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and more than one in six of them stopped working since the onset of the pandemic, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said Wednesday.

“The COVID-19 economic crisis is hitting young people – especially women – harder and faster than any other group,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder at a video press conference in Geneva.

“If we do not take significant and immediate action to improve their situation, the legacy of the virus could be with us for decades,” said Ryder.

The estimated number of overall jobs lost around the world in the second quarter of 2020 remains unchanged at 305 million, said the ILO.

From a regional perspective, the Americas (13.1%), and Europe and Central Asia (12.9%) present the most substantial losses in hours worked in the second quarter of this year.

Ryder said if youth talent and energy are side-lined by a lack of opportunity or skills, it will damage the future of all people and make it much more difficult to rebuild a better, post-COVID economy.

Young people who remain employed have seen their working hours cut by 23%, noted the ILO.

According to ILO’s fourth Monitor: COVID-19 and the World of Work, the youth are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and substantial and rapid rise in youth unemployment since February is harming young women more than young men.

It also found that the novel coronavirus pandemic is inflicting a triple shock on young people.

“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,” said the ILO.

The ILO said that at 13.6%, the youth unemployment rate in 2019 was already higher than for any other group.

There were around 267 million young people not in employment, education, or training worldwide.

Those 15-24 year-olds employed were also more likely to be in work that leaves them vulnerable, such as low paid occupations, informal sector work, or as migrant workers.

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