More than one in six youths were jobless since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic while those who remain employed have seen their working hours cut by 23 per cent, according to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
According to the 'ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work: 4th edition' published on Wednesday, youths are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and the substantial and rapid increase in youth unemployment seen since February is affecting young women more than young men, reports Xinhua news agency.
The 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 labour market or to move between jobs, said the report.
At 13.6 per cent, the youth unemployment rate in 2019 was already higher than any other group.
There were around 267 million young people not in employment, education or training worldwide.
"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 ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
"If their talent and energy is sidelined by a lack of opportunity or skills, it will damage all our futures and make it much more difficult to re-build a better, post-COVID economy."
The report called for urgent, large-scale and targeted policy responses to support youth, including broad-based employment/training guarantee programs in developed countries, and employment-intensive programs and guarantees in low- and middle-income economies.