NEW YORK: The coronavirus pandemic has created a ‘lockdown generation’ by forcing more than one in six people under the age of 29 to stop working, the International Labour Organization (ILO), a Geneva-based UN agency, has warned.
The agency said the COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected young people and could impact upon their work opportunities and career options for decades to come. “I don’t think it is giving way to hyperbole to talk about the danger of a lockdown generation,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told a virtual press conference in Geneva.
“As we recover from the pandemic, a lot of young people are simply going to be left behind. Big numbers,” he said, warning that “the danger is that this initial shock to young people will last a decade or longer. “People will be permanently scarred by the immediate effects of the pandemic.”
Even before the crisis, the global youth unemployment rate stood at 13.6 percent in 2019 far higher than for any other group while some 267 million young people were neither employed nor in education or training (NEET).
Overall, the ILO study said it expected the coronavirus crisis to obliterate 10.7 percent of working hours worked globally during the second quarter of 2020 compared to the final three months of 2019 the equivalent of 305 million jobs.