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18 Million Pakistanis May Lose Jobs Due To Coronavirus Crisis: Report

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In the aftermath of complete shutdown due to the outbreak of coronavirus across the country, 18 million Pakistanis employed in different sectors of economy may lose their jobs.

According to a news report published in The News, three renowned economists Dr Nasir, Naseem Faraz and Mahmood Khalid – who are affiliated with Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) have written a research paper ‘Sectoral Analysis of the Vulnerable Employed COVID-19 and Pakistan’s Labor Market’. The research paper stated that all the provinces in Pakistan are now experiencing lockdowns to ‘flatten the curve’ of the spread of pandemic.

In their research paper, the economists distributed the lingering crisis into Stage-I, Stage-II and Stage-III. The average monthly loss of stage-I is estimated at Rs22 billion, stage-II Rs186.86 billion and stage-III Rs260.9 billion. Since Pakistan has already passed Stage-I in most of its regions, the government should be looking at the cost of Stages II and III while thinking about the possible mechanisms to reach out to the laid-off workers.

It is worth mentioning here that this is the monthly cost only. As the period of lockdown would extend, the cost would also increase proportionally. The issue of immediate concern, however, is the effect on the employment situation in the country resulting in major layoffs, especially of those that fall in the vulnerable employment group.

The research paper has classified the lockdown into three different stages. In Stage-I, there are limited restrictions, while in Stage-II moderate restrictions are placed, and curfew is imposed in Stage-III. Pakistan is somewhere between Stages I and II at the moment. It will, however, quickly find itself between Stage II and III if the numbers of confirmed cases continue to grow exponentially.

It is evident that moving from Stage I to II would result in more than 10 times increase in the layoffs in vulnerable employment. Going into a complete lockdown (Stage III) would push this number to above 18 million. “We see that for Stages I, II, and III, the majority of layoffs would be of the daily-wage workers and paid workers by piece rate simply because they constitute the bigger proportion,” the research paper stated.

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