Unemployment fear in the eyes of graduates

Pour one out for 2020 grads. It’ll be hard to find a job in this market

Says Los Angeles Times

The current economic conditions could take this year’s grads 10 years or more to recover from

The Atlantic

The unemployment rate has been growing in the country for the last couple of years. The rates were higher in urban areas than in rural areas and saw a similar trend among gender. The unemployment situation in the country was the major cause of worry and anxiety among many Indians. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had only accelerated the unemployment rates, and the situation is expected to improve with many joining the labor force in the days following lifting of lockdown restrictions.

As of now, it’s not clear for just how long their progress will be stalled. “I would talk [in terms of] years,” Till von Wachter, an economist at UCLA who has studied how young workers fare during and after economic downturns, told me. “If [the economy] recovers in the first year, there’s some hope. If it’s bad into the spring of 2021”—an eventuality that seems more and more likely—“then these individuals should worry.”

The cause for worry is the record of previous graduates who stumbled into an inhospitable economic climate. Researchers have shown that the economic scars of graduating into a recession—sustained higher rates of unemployment (for high-school graduates) and lower earnings (for everyone) compared with peers graduating as little as a year or two earlier or later—can last for as long as 10 or 15 years. This bad luck may also be dangerous for people’s health: Workers who were launching their careers during the recession of the early 1980s were found to have a heightened risk of dying in middle age, often due to increased incidence of heart disease, lung cancer, or drug overdoses.

In line with previous research, the cohort that graduated into the most recent economic catastrophe, the Great Recession, is still struggling overall. According to a paper by Jesse Rothstein, an economist at UC Berkeley, the pay and employment rate of those who graduated from college during the downturn remained relatively low throughout the 2010s.

As per the budgetary estimates by the Indian government, there has been a deficit in the estimates of the number of jobs to be created compared to the actual jobs created over the years. Even though only 24 percent graduates were being hired, the organized sectors of employment in the country grew at nearly 29 percent in financial year 2020.

Sandhya keelery

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