15 million may become jobless in Bangladesh

Published: ০৬/০৫/২০

With the global fallout on job figures, Bangladesh is also predicted to have a great impact on employment as well as trade and economy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Researchers from Dhaka University’s Institute of Health Economics estimate that Bangladesh’s economy has been losing Tk 33 billion every day from its service and agriculture sectors over the nationwide shutdown.

The global situation is more concerning where International Labour Organization (ILO) predicted that nearly half the global workforce is at risk of losing their livelihoods because of the pandemic. It is predicted that around 15 million people of different sectors will become unemployed in Bangladesh due to the slowdown of trade and business caused by deadly virus. Apart from the informal sector, key sectors like apparel, tourism and aviation, ICT, construction sector, food chain and service sector will receive the hit first that will witness millions of job losses in the days to come.

Some organisations have already started downsizing their employees as they have no other options but to cut jobs to cope with the loss. The continued sharp decline in working hours globally due to the COVID-19 outbreak means that 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy – that is nearly half the global workforce – stand in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed, warned the International Labour Organization (ILO). Estimated job cuts in Bangladesh due to Covid-19

In different primary assessment, it is predicted that around 15 million people, mostly involved in informal sector, are on the verge of losing their jobs as the fallout of coronavirus is putting serious stress on economy and business.
A private research organisation Policy Research Institute (PRI) Executive Director Dr Ahsan H Mansur primarily predicted that around 15 million people from different sector will be jobless due to the economic fallout caused by corona epidemic.

Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) and Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) in a survey said as many as 71 percent people of informal sector have become jobless due to the ongoing shutdown enforced to curb the virus. The incomes of people who are barely working during the closure have dropped by 50 to 90 percent, forcing them to cut costs, the survey states. It states that nearly 98 percent people could afford three meals a day before the shutdown. Now, the shutdown has dragged that number down to 73 percent.

At least a quarter of garment workers in Bangladesh   the world’s second-largest clothing manufacturer, after China — has been fired or furloughed because of declining global orders amid the coronavirus crisis, according to the Penn State Center for Global Workers’ Rights. The independent labour rights group, which tracks layoffs and economic damage in one of the world’s poorest countries, has found that more than a million Bangladeshi apparel workers were laid off in recent weeks because of the coronavirus.

More than three lakh tourism workers in the country may lose their jobs by June this year due to the coronavirus situation. The Pacific Asia Travel Association’s (Pata) Bangladesh chapter made the estimation after consulting with industry insiders. The Tour Operator Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), a platform of 678 tour operators of Bangladesh, said the operators have already been forced to cut 5,000 jobs in three months. Sector leaders estimated that more than 30 percent people of 0.5 million who were employed in hospitality sector would lose their job.

The outbreak of coronavirus could result in 11,600 job losses in the aviation industry in Bangladesh, according to an estimate of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The pandemic will cause a loss of $69 million or around Tk600 crore from the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is supported by the aviation industry, according to the IATA projection. Ahsan H Mansur said now the issue is not of saving a sector or two by giving favours to them; the issue is saving the economy and jobs for the millions. The government has to act now — not in the future.

The governments across the globe have acted on two fronts- the central banks came up with liquidity support and lowering of interest rates; and the ministry of finance or treasuries came up with fiscal packages to partly offset the income losses incurred by the corporations to protect jobs and direct income support to citizens impacted by the lockdown and loss of employment, he said.

According to the Labour Force Survey-2017, around 60.8 million people were in various employments or engaged in economic activity while the informal employment was dominating as 85.1 percent of the employed population was engaged in the country’s informal employment. The contribution of informal jobs in urban areas was 13.1 million while 38.6 million in rural areas. Global job market in dire situation  The International Labour Office (ILO) said currently 81 percent of the global workforce of 3.3 billion was affected by the full or partial workplace closures.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that about 68 million jobs could be lost in Asia due to the coronavirus pandemic. China will see the highest number of workers affected, with about 52.8 million workers potentially losing their jobs by the end of September in the worst case scenario.  In India, the country’s most reliant neighbor, its Centre for the Monitoring of Indian Economy (CMIE) estimates that only 27.7 percent of the working-age population (103 crore) was employed in the week after lockdown began. That works out to 28.5 crore. So, within two weeks, the number of gainfully employed has come down from 40.4 crore to 28.5 crore, a drop of 11.9 crore.

Estimates released by the National Sample Survey (NSS) and Periodic Labour Force Surveys (PLFS), suggested that over 136 million non-agricultural jobs are at immediate risk. The figure is almost near in Europe. According to McKinsey, nearly 60 million jobs across the European Union and the United Kingdom are at risk from the coronavirus pandemic. The consulting firm warns in a report published Monday that the EU unemployment rate could soar from around 6 percent to more than 11 percent and remain elevated for years.

In North America, the world biggest economy United States’ labour market is already getting slammed by the pandemic, with around 22 million people, or roughly 13.5 percent of the labor force, filing initial jobless claims since March 14.  Another 5.2 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department’s weekly report of USA.

Meanwhile, about 20 million jobs are at risk in Africa as the continent’s economies are projected to shrink this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according an African Union (AU) study.  Besides, in South American countries, COVID-19 eliminates the equivalence of 14 million jobs while 800,000 jobs have been lost in Australia.


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